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Robyn Denny

(1920 -  2014 )
DENNY Robyn Untitled

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions /Jan 10, 2017
237.42
184.03

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Artworks in Arcadja
249

Some works of Robyn Denny

Extracted between 249 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Robyn Denny - Ted Bentley

Robyn Denny - Ted Bentley

Original 1961
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Gross Price
Lot number: 24
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Description:
Robyn Denny 1930-2014 TED BENTLEY oil on canvas 214 by 183cm.; 84¼ by 72in. Executed in 1961. Provenance Acquired directly from the Artist by the present owner in 1983 Exhibited London, Molton Gallery, Robyn Denny, 15th November - 9th December 1961, cat. no.4, illustrated; Basel, Kunsthalle Basel, R. Adams, Skulptur, 7 Junge Englische Maler, 26th January - 3rd March 1963, cat. no.47; London, Tate, Robyn Denny, 7th March - 23rd April 1973, cat. no.39, illustrated p.33; London, Sotheby's, The New Situation: Art in London in the Sixties, 4th - 11th September 2013, cat. no.49, illustrated p.84. Catalogue Note Ted Bentley was one of the key images in Denny\’s 1973 retrospective at the Tate – an exhibition that marked a high point in his career (he was, at the time, the youngest living artist ever to receive this accolade). Yet, curiously, the show was also something of a full-stop: not long after, Denny moved to California and there followed decades out of the public eye, until the late 2000s, when his important early paintings were once again shown in commercial galleries and the Tate celebrated him, 35 years after his retrospective, in a display from their significant holdings, re-establishing Denny as a key figure in British abstraction of the 60s and 70s. The display included Baby Makes Three from 1960, first shown in the seminal Situation show of the same year – an exhibition that aimed to take on the scale and ambition of American painting whilst simultaneously speaking of the current \‘situation\’ in British art, a combination of the painterly and the hard-edge. It was in his Situation paintings that Denny formally abandoned the tachiste style of his student-era work and embraced hard-edge, colour-field painting – roughly in parallel to the American painter Ellsworth Kelly, with whom he shares many confluences (and, crucially, differences too). In 1961, Denny embarked on a series of decisive works, such as the Track series, Ted Bentley, Gully Foyle and Madras (sold in these rooms, June 2017, for £62,500). These paintings are dominated by vertical bands that are then themselves bound within a frame, forming a kind of gateway. Inevitably this lends them an architectural quality, yet one senses that the starting point is always the human body: Denny wanted these paintings to be hung just six inches above the floor so the viewer had a sense that he or she could just step into the picture. The vertical can always take on a (hieratic) human quality, something understood by sculptors of the period, such as William Turnbull. And like Turnbull, even when Denny is at his most reductive, his images are never cold or impersonal. Minimal as they may be, the colours are not chosen according to a formula or a colour wheel; each stripe is laid on in response to the previous one, adjustments are made to the composition and the traces of these changes left in, and the titles of the works are deliberately evocative (if sometimes elusive), cut and pasted from news reports, pulp fiction, TV shows – a hint of Pop within a minimal aesthetic. In his early career, Denny created abstract works that could be literally changed and moved around by the viewer. This sense of play remains in his works from the 1960s too. The colours in Ted Bentley – the viewer\’s sense of space, of foreground or background – shifts before the viewer\’s eyes, albeit with none of the dizzying effects of a Bridget Riley. Instead, it is more a slow reveal, felt less in the eye, more by the entire body.
Robyn Denny - Madras

Robyn Denny - Madras

Original 1961
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Gross Price
Lot number: 31
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Description:
Robyn Denny MADRAS 1930 - 2014 signed, titled, dated 1961. and inscribed on the reverse; also inscribed on the stretcher bar oil on canvas 183 by 213cm.; 72 by 84in. Acquired directly from the Artist by the present owner Leverkusen, Stadtisches Museum, Neue Malerei in England, 15th September - 5th November 1961, cat. no.12; Basel, Galerie Handschin, Denny/Greninger/Olsen, 1962 (details untraced); Bristol, Arnolfini Gallery, Paintings by John Ernest, Robyn Denny, 1st - 26th October 1966 (details untraced); Verona, Studio la Citta, Robyn Denny, 10th November - 5th December 1973, un-numbered exhibition. Robyn Denny was part of the original generation of \\\\‘Young British Artists\\\\’, including Hockney, Kitaj and Blake, who emerged from the Royal College of Art in the late 1950s and early 1960s to almost instant acclaim and international success, much as the Goldsmith\\\\’s group of Hirst, Emin et al. did 25 years later. Within less than a decade of leaving college, Denny himself had shown at leading galleries in London, including Kasmin Ltd – at the time the cutting-edge space for contemporary abstract painting in the capital – and had also represented Britain at the 1966 Venice Biennale. In 1973, he became the youngest living artist to receive a full retrospective at the Tate. Not long after, Denny moved to the U.S. and there followed a few decades out of the public eye. However, in in 2007-8, his important early paintings were once again shown in commercial galleries in London and the Tate celebrated his work in a display from their significant holdings, re-establishing Denny as a key figure in British abstraction of the 1960s and '70s. The Tate display included Baby Makes Three from 1960 (a prototype for the series of vertical stripe paintings of 1961 of which Madras is one) which was included in the seminal show Situation of the same year – an exhibition that aimed to take on the scale and ambition of American painting whilst simultaneously speaking of the current \\\\‘situation\\\\’ in British art, a combination of the painterly and the hard-edge, with both Minimalist and Pop-influences. It was in his Situation works that Denny formally abandoned the abstract-expressionist style of his student-era work and embraced hard-edge painting. In 1961 he embarked on a series of works, such as Track, Ted Bentley, Gully Foyle and Madras that are dominated by vertical bands that are bound within a frame, forming a kind of gateway. Inevitably this lends them an architectural quality, yet one senses that the starting point in these works is always the human body: Denny wanted these paintings to be hung just six inches above the floor so the viewer had a sense that he or she could just step into the picture. The vertical can always take on a (hieratic) human quality, something understood by Denny but also by sculptors of the period, such as William Turnbull, and latterly the likes of Antony Gormley. Nothing, however, is simple in Denny\\\\’s work, despite their stripped down appearance. They are resolutely flat and yet the use of colour, the juxtaposition of the various bands, has a deliberate optical effect, creating \\\\‘space in colour\\\\’ (to borrow a phrase from Patrick Heron), even when that colour is contained within plumb-straight lines. As Margaret Garlake has commented, in Denny\\\\’s works from the 1960s, \\\\‘despite their overall balance and resolution, they are inherently contradictory, challenging the viewer\\\\’s perceptual expectations. There is neither "figure" nor "ground" but a constant process of visual adjustment in which space becomes an ambiguous mental construct rather than a familiar physical quality; colour produces flicker effects and is destabilised while scale, in works where nothing is certain, is perhaps the greatest conundrum as there is nothing to compare it with' (Margaret Garlake, Robyn Denny/Paintings/Collages/1954-1968, exhibition catalogue, Jonathan Clark Fine Art, London, June 2007, unpaginated). This uncertainty, that Garlake notes is both conceptual as well as perceptual, is something that stems, perhaps, from their making. Denny wasn\\\\’t systematic, like his hard-edge counterparts on the Continent: instead the overall design of a painting would be worked out as he went along, the choice of colours made by \\\\‘eye\\\\’, so that these sharp, Minimalist works have, at their basis, a painterly feel in their subtlety and modulation.
Robyn Denny - Iv

Robyn Denny - Iv

Original 1966
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Net Price
Lot number: 1353
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Description:
*Robyn Denny (British, 1930-2014) IV Screenprint in colours, 1966, signed, dated and numbered 38/75 in pencil, from 'Suite 66', printed by Kelpra Studio, London, published by Editions Alecto, London, on wove paper, with full margins image 57 x 49cm, framed Copies of this print are in the collections of the Tate and The British Council. *Artist's Resale Right may apply to this lot.
Robyn Denny - Untitled

Robyn Denny - Untitled

Original 1966
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Net Price
Lot number: 115
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Robyn Denny (British 1930-2014) Untitled Screenprint in colours, 1966 Signed in pencil, dated 66 and numbered 45/75, on smooth wove paper 76 x 49.5cm. (29 7/8 x 19 1/2in.) Unframed. Denny taught at the Bath Academy of Art at Corsham between 1959 and 1965. The following year, 1966, he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.
Robyn Denny - British Suite 66/ Iii

Robyn Denny - British Suite 66/ Iii

Original 1966
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Gross Price
Lot number: 49
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
ROBYN DENNY (1930-2014), BRITISH SUITE 66/ III, 1966
Colour silkscreen; signed, numbered \“Printers Proof\” and dated \‘66 in pencil to margin. Aside from the edition of 75. Published by Editions Alecto.
Image/Sheet 15.7" x 13" — 40 x 33 cm.; 29.9" x 19.5" — 76 x 49.5 cm.
Provenance:
Estate of The Pollock Gallery Limited, Toronto; By descent
Note:
From the folio \“Suite 66\”, Plate III
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