[§] SIR TERRY FROST R.A. (BRITISH 1915-2003)
Signed verso and dated 1986-90, oil on canvas
151cm x 126cm (59.5in x 49.5in) Estimate £ 20,000-30,000 + fees Note:
Terry Frost was one of a major group of British artists who made their name in the late 1950s and early 1960s, creating a unique variety of home-grown abstraction. His paintings evolved to exude colour and light and to communicate the sheer pleasure of existence. What he himself described as 'a state of delight in front of nature.'
It was hardly surprising that this should have been so. Frost was simply happy to be alive. Taken prisoner on Crete during World War he discovered his ability to paint while in a German POW camp, encouraged by fellow prisoner, the painter Adrian Heath.
After the war he enrolled at Camberwell but, uninspired by the hard-line regime of William Coldstream, dropped out on the suggestion of Victor Pasmore and moved to St Ives in Cornwall where a colony of artists was forming around Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, for whom he worked for a short time as an assistant.
Although he began as a figurative painter, Frost gradually moved towards abstraction, inspired in particular by the Tate's seminal 1956 exhibition of post war American Abstract Expressionism.
During the 1950s, alongside Patrick Heron, Bryan Wynter and Roger Hilton, Frost established himself in Cornwall, displaying the influence of such artists as Robert Motherwell with his use of truncated geometric abstract forms.
Like Alan Davie he also began to develop a language of symbols: using chevrons, crescents, lozenges, triangles and in particular spirals, to great effect. By the early 1970s Frost had created his signature style, experimenting with complimentary colours, and powerful abstract forms.
Having taught extensively in the north of England, his work being influenced by the barrenness of the landscape, Frost returned with his family to the south and from 1974 lived at Newlyn. He continued however to travel extensively, in particular around the Mediterranean, whose bright sunlight and bold colours were a strong influence on his later work.
Combining this with his consistent and well-defined language of symbol and form, Frost built a highly personal and unmistakeable style of abstraction which was at once hugely exuberant and celebratory. The painting on offer here, created between 1986 and 1990 is a classic example of his mature work, and the culmination of a lifetime's understanding of the visual and psychological impact of pure abstraction.
Sold for £81,250
(buyer's premium included)