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John Duncan

XX Century -  Wikipedia® : John Duncan
DUNCAN John Wild Geese

Moore Allen & Innocent
Dec 18, 2015
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Artworks in Arcadja
28

Some works of John Duncan

Extracted between 28 works in the catalog of Arcadja
John Duncan - Wild Geese

John Duncan - Wild Geese

Original -
Estimate:

Price: Not disclosed
Lot number: 429K
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
JOHN DUNCAN "Wild geese", watercolour, signed bottom right
CONDITION REPORTS
Some yellowing and discolouration, some splashes, some wear and scuffs, thunderflies under glass, some warping to mounts, some smudging and possible re-painting where picture and mounts have become damp, appears to have had some repairs/over-painting to the picture possibly due to stains or damp, approx. size of picture 33 x 50 cm.
John Duncan - Heptu Bidding Farewell To The City Of Obb

John Duncan - Heptu Bidding Farewell To The City Of Obb

Original 1994
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 106
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
provenance andré raffalovich, whitehouse terrace, edinburgh; new york, barry friedman gallery; private collection literature and references john kemplay, the paintings of john duncan, a scottish symbolist, 1994, p. 49, illus. p. 48 catalogue note john duncan was undeniably the foremost painter of celtic symbolist art and he created a world of beauty and romance inhabited by pale princesses, tragic heroes and fantastical beasts based upon the rich narratives of scottish mythology. his imagery was based upon the fragile maidens of the pre-raphaelite burne-jones and celtic folk-lore, but laced with the exoticism of european symbolism and the works of gustave moreau and puvis de chavannes. in 1907 duncan had visited london and had been enchanted by the works of botticelli, mantegna and crivelli at the national gallery and returned to scotland determined to try to capture the same bejewelled beauty in his own work. he embarked upon his most significant large oils, including angus obb of 1908 (national gallery of scotland), heptu bidding farewell to the city of obb of 1909, the riders of the sidhe of 1910 (dundee art gallery), st bride of 1913 (national gallery of scotland) and the children of lir of 1914 (city of edinburgh museums and art galleries). heptu bidding farewell to the city of obb is the most important painting by duncan to remain in private ownership. it was bought from duncan by andré raffalovich and hung in the dining room of his home on whitehouse terrace in edinburgh. raffalovich was a playwrite and symbolist poet of considerable talent but is perhaps best-known as the wealthy companion of the poet john gray. the jealousy that oscar wilde felt for raffalovich and gray's friendship is much documented; wilde considered gray to be his protegé, perhaps even the inspiration for the picture of dorian gray. raffalovich had lived in paris in the early 1880s and was therefore educated in french symbolist art and literature; he was a great friend of mallarmé and several other leading symbolist poets. duncan met raffalovich in 1907 when he executed a series of paintings of the stations of the cross for the parish church of st. peters in edinburgh which raffalovich had funded. duncan was greatly impressed by raffalovich's knowledge of symbolist art and writing and it is likely that heptu bidding farewell to the city of obb was the result of a direct commision. the subject of the present painting appears to have been the invention of the artist. it depicts a naked girl with alabaster white skin and flame red hair billowing in the breeze, riding high above the sea on the back of a majestic and fantastic beast. she wears a crown of gold and her neck and wrists are decorated with strings of garnets or rubies. her jewels and crown suggest that she is a princess of the island of obb that she is now fleeing. her palace stands high on a rocky dias, an imposing fortress beside the sea, and the land is cast in shadow, perhaps suggesting that she is forsaking her homeland because it is no longer safe to remain. the painting poses more questions than it answers and this is the beauty of duncan's work which creates its own mystery and mythology. the beast depicted in the present picture appears to be a combination of two mythical creatures, the gryphon and the cockatrice. the cockatrice was invented in the twelfth century, based upon pliny's description in the natural history of a form of the basilisk, although unlike the basilisk the cockatrice was said to stand upon legs rather than slither on the ground. it was believed that it was born from the egg of a cock incubated by a toad and was able to turn its enemies into stone by looking at them or by breathing upon them. the only animals that could defeat the cockatrice were the weasel which was immune to it's stare and the cockerel that could kill it by crowing. the traditional cockatrice was said to have the body of a serpent and the talons of a bird, unlike duncan's fantastic animal. the combination of leonine and birdlike physical attributes connects this creature with the gryphon (griffin), with the wings and head of an eagle and the body of a lion. as the lion is considered to be the king of the beasts and the eagle is the king of the birds, the gryphon is said to posses superior powers above the other mythological creatures. it was believed to be the physical guardian of the divine. in heraldic iconography, there are several types of gryphon, the keythong, alce, opinicus and the simurgh which was believed by the babylonians to have lived so long that it had seen the destruction of the world three times over. heptu's mount is combination of the opinicus; distinguished by having four lion's legs rather than having the forelegs of an eagle), and the cockatrice. the stimuli for heptu bidding farewell to the city of obb may have been an unlocated picture entitled the shining land in which a naked girl riding a gryphon is seen in the background. in this painting the animal is more clearly the combination of an eagle and a lion and in heptu bidding farewell to the city of obb duncan appears to have wished to create a more unusual fantasy, in 1934 duncan painted a similar beast, a sphinx in the challenge in which oedipus approaches the riddler of thebes in a wilderness of barren rocks and serpents. like the princess in heptu bidding farewell to the city of obb, oedipus is naked, perhaps to make the contrast between primal bestial power and human frailty. with heptu bidding farewell to the city of obb duncan created an image which showed that the influence of french art upon scottish artists was not limited to the influence of manet and mattisse upon fergusson and peploe, but had a slightly earlier influence upon an artist whose artistic aims were very different, to create a dream-like world of legend.
signed and dated l.r.: john duncan/ 1909 oil on canvas
John Duncan - The Legend Of Orpheus In The First Section Orpheus Tames Cerberusand Leads Eurydice From Hades. The Second Section Shows Orpheusplaying The Lyre For Pluto And Persephone, Then Looking Back Ateurydice As She Follows Him From The Underworld. In The Finalsec

John Duncan - The Legend Of Orpheus In The First Section Orpheus Tames Cerberusand Leads Eurydice From Hades. The Second Section Shows Orpheusplaying The Lyre For Pluto And Persephone, Then Looking Back Ateurydice As She Follows Him From The Underworld. In The Finalsec

Original 1895
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 236
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Two signed with device (lower left), one signed with device anddated '95' (lower right)
pencil and watercolour
centre panel: 31 x 20 in. (80 x 50.9 cm.); outer wings: 31 x 11 in.(80 x 29.9 cm.); and slightly smaller; a triptych (3)
Literature
Margaret Armour, 'Mural Decoration in Scotland, Part 1', Studio,vol. 10, 1897, pp.101-4, illustrated.
John Kemplay, The Paintings of John Duncan, San Francisco, 1994,pp. 20-25, illustrated.
Exhibited
Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Arts and Crafts inEdinburgh 1880-1930, 1985, no. 82.
Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh Art Centre and Dundee, Art Galleriesand Museums, John Duncan, 1986, no. 22.
Lot Notes
Duncan is one of the heroes of the international Symbolistmovement. He has always been honoured in Scotland. In 1941, fouryears before his death, a retrospective exhibition of his work washeld at the National Gallery in Edinburgh, the first time that aliving artist had enjoyed this distinction; and a major exhibitiontook place in Edinburgh and Dundee in 1986. But south of the borderhe is much less well known, and the presence of some of his finestworks in the Last Romantics exhibition at the Barbican in 1989 washailed as a revelation. The publication of John Kemplay's monographin 1994 has made him more familiar.
Born in Dundee, the son of a cattle dealer, Duncan was studying atthe Dundee School of Art by the age of eleven. After three years inLondon doing hack work for publishers, he continued his studies inAntwerp and Dusseldorf and spent a winter in Rome, where hedeveloped an ardent admiration for Michelangelo. Back in Dundee, hebecame a member of the local Graphic Arts Association, and in1898-9 he shared a studio with the brilliant but short-lived GeorgeDutch Davidson (see lot 237), whom he greatly influenced. Howeverfrom 1892 he was mainly based in Edinburgh, where he was closelyassociated with Patrick Geddes. Biologist, town planner and prophetof the Celtic Revival, Geddes offered him the post of Director ofhis new art school, and Duncan sought to express Geddes' ideas in anumber of mural projects, notably a series of panels illustratingscenes from Celtic history which he painted in the common room ofUniversity Hall at Ramsay Lodge. He was also involved with Geddes'influential magazine, The Evergreen. In 1899 he embarked on a tourof America with Geddes, and in 1900 he became Associate Professorof Art at Chicago University, holding the post for two years.
On returning to Scotland Duncan made his home in Edinburgh, wherehis studio in Torphichen Street and later St. Bernard's Crescentbecame a centre for a lively group of artists and intellectuals,including Geddes, Mrs Kennedy Fraser, Father John Gray, LadyMargaret Sackville, and such younger talents as Eric Robertson,Cecile Walton and Joyce Cary. One of his associates, the novelistMary Agnes Hamilton, described him in her novel Yes (1914) as'accumulating unsaleable works which pleased him but not thebuyers'. In fact he received many commissions for altarpieces,church murals and stained glass, and was elected A.R.S.A in 1910and R.S.A in 1923. He was a great experimenter with techniques, andmuch of his work is in tempera. His subject matter remained rootedin the Celtic Revival and the Pre-Raphaelite tradition, but he alsopainted landscapes in Iona and elsewhere and took a keen interestin the development of modern art. Many regarded him as a mystic,and he confessed to hearing 'fairy music' while he painted. Thisrather fey quality led him into trouble when he fell in love withand married a girl who believed she had discovered the Holy Grailin a well at Glastonbury; the marriage was not a success and hiswife eventually left him, taking herself and her two daughters toSouth Africa.
The present watercolours date from 1895 and are designs for muralpaintings carried out by Duncan for James Beveridge at PitreavieCastle, Dunfermline. The commission came through Patrick Geddes,who recommended Duncan on the strength of the murals that he hadalready carried out in the Common Room at University Hall and inGeddes' own house. Indeed, the theme that Duncan had illustrated inthe latter paintings, the evolution of pipe music, anticipates thatof Orpheus, celebrated for his playing of the lyre, at Pitreavie.The Orpheus designs were published in the influential Studiomagazine in 1897, and described there as 'most characteristic andbeautiful'. The writer compares Duncan to Puvis de Chavannes in hisrespect for the flatness of the wall and the light tone of hiscolours, although the difference between them is also stressed.Duncan's 'arrangements are more ornamental..., and his ornament ismore employed in detail... Classic restraint marks his compositionand technique, while the dramatic intensity of his treatmentbetrays the fervour of the Celtic temperament'.
The story of Orpheus held a powerful appeal for Symbolist painters,especially the part of the story illustrated in Duncan's thirdpanel. According to legend, having lost Eurydice as she followedhim out of Hades, Orpheus was torn to death by Thracian womancelebrating the orgies of Bacchus; his head was thrown into theriver Hebrus, where it continued to lament Euridice as it floateddown to the Aegean sea. Artists saw the severed but still singinghead as an image of the immortality of art. Gustave Moreauexhibited a famous picture of the subject at the Salon of 1866, andthe theme inspired Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, Alexandre Son,and others. In England its exponents included J.W. Waterhouse,Robert Anning Bell, and Charles Ricketts. For a full discussion ofthe subject, see Dorothy M. Kosinski, Orpheus in Nineteenth-CenturySymbolism, Michigan, 1989.
John Duncan - Pheasants In Winter Landscape

John Duncan - Pheasants In Winter Landscape

Original 20th century
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 170
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
John Duncan (20th century): Pheasants in Winter Landscape, watercolour signed 37cm x 32cm Condition Report Click here for further images, condition, auction times & delivery costs
John Duncan - "merlin", Study Of A Bird Of Prey

John Duncan - "merlin", Study Of A Bird Of Prey

Original 1903
Estimate:

Price: Not disclosed
Lot number: 102
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
John Duncan (19th-20th Century) British. "Merlin", Study of a Bird of Prey, Watercolour, Signed, Inscribed and Dated 1903, Oval, 9.75" x 7.75".
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