Sotheby's /May 22, 2014
€12,266.93 - €18,400.40
Artworks in Arcadja371
Some works of William OrpenExtracted between 371 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Bonhams -Jun 3, 2014 - LondonLot number: 90
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Sir William Orpen, R.A., H.R.H.A. (British, 1878-1931) 'Peace perfect peace - sleepy dog' inscribed, signed and dated 'ORPEN/1930' (lower right), pencil 24 x 32.5cm (9 7/16 x 12 13/16in). together with another work by the same hand titled 'Very sick' (2) Footnotes We are grateful to Mr Chris Pearson for his assistance in cataloguing this lot
Auction: Bonhams -May 28, 2014 - LondonLot number: 44
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Sir William Orpen, R.A., H.R.H.A. (British, 1878-1931) Still life, pottery figure of the Chinese war god Kuan-Ti, and a crystal ball signed with cipher (lower right) oil on canvas 76.8 x 63.6 cm. (30 1/4 x 25 1/8 in.) Footnotes Provenance Mrs Evelyn St. George Her sale; Sotheby's, London, 26 July 1939, where acquired by Geoffrey Hutchinson, later Baron Ilford Private Collection U.K. Although occasionally fractious, William Orpen's friendship with Hugh Lane was highly influential. The magpie collector, prior to his move to Lindsey House in Chelsea at the end of 1909 had stored his possessions at Orpen's studio in South Bolton Gardens, Kensington, much to his friend's irritation, and this included oriental ceramics, assorted statuary and objects d'art , as well as pictures. The Old Master dealer was no expert in Chinese and Japanese vases and figurines, but he amassed these for their decorative appeal and, regardless of their age or worth, would sometimes give choice pieces away to friends if they particularly admired them. When he finally moved they formed a guard of honour for guests in the hallway of his 'veritable museum'. As Thomas Bodkin recalled, 'one passed between a double rank of stone Ming statues of Chinese Immortals, ranged across a black and white chequered marble floor'. As their temporary custodian up to this point, the artist could pick and choose from these objects and in a number of notable instances, they made their way into his paintings. One example is likely to be the colourful pottery figure of Kuan-Ti, more familiarly known as Guan Yu, the Chinese God of War, the subject of the present canvas. Unlike his other still-life paintings depicting blanc-de-chine deities, this bold polychrome figure prompted a decorative approach which is emphasised in the painted zig-zag frame which encloses the composition. It is a predecessor of the ornate mirror frames that Orpen frequently included in later self-portraits. The statuette itself is loosely painted with slashes of emerald, cobalt and red oxide that accentuate its dramatic character. Kuan-Ti is traditionally presented in an aggressive pose, with flowing beard and frowning red face. Where Orpen might adopt a suave, studied approach to the milk white Dehua porcelain of a Guan Yin goddess, this threatening warrior demanded a vigorous handling that contrasts with the precision of the crystal globe that lies at his feet. Kuan-Ti (162-219 AD) was a character of history and myth. Prior to his deification, he was a famous general during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China (206 BC - 220 AD). A mighty warrior of great renown, he was the brother of the first emperor, Liu Bei, of the Kingdom of Shu, and played a significant role of establishing his reign. His exploits were later romanticised in fables and popular drama during the Ming dynasty, especially in the Sanguo Yanyi , or " Romance of the Three Kingdoms ", in which he is portrayed as a sort of Chinese Robin Hood. Kuan-Ti remains respected as the epitome of loyalty, moral qualities and righteousness by Chinese people today and modern statues abound. In order to accentuate its oriental and decorative lineage, Orpen has signed the present picture in an unusual way with a monogram formed from his initials. Giving the impression of a chinese 'chop' or stamp, its use by Orpen is rare, but not unique. It appears for instance in an illustrated letter dated 18 January 1908, congratulating Lane on the opening of the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin, which now bears his name. The appearance of the cipher on both a letter to Lane and the present work may be more than mere coincidence as it tends to confirm our supposition that the pottery figure belonged to the collector. It may even give a vital clue to the approximate date of the present work. If this striking artefact, along with the other porcelain figurines found in Orpen's still life paintings after 1906 are likely to have been part of Lane's miscellany, it must also be recognised that the painter's consciousness of the art of the Orient probably predates his friendship with the collector and was in place prior to the establishment of the 'Oriel' studio in the 'Boltons'. The first blanc-de-chine figure for instance, seen in juxtaposition with a Japanese doll in Reflections, China and Japan , (1902-3, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane) Orpen's first important still-life, shown at the New English Art Club in 1903, is likely to have been prompted by his brother-in-law, William Rothenstein. A similar porcelain figurine returns around 1907 in the magisterial Still Life, Blanc-de-Chine Figure (1907, Private Collection), one of a small sequence of still life paintings produced in rapport with those of William Nicholson, with whom Orpen shared a studio. Here the object is moved to a central position and placed on a stand against a dark background, as though demanding an act of worship. The present bold multi-coloured statuette, similarly placed, coming probably at the end of the series, poses a different, more complex challenge, with a different derivation. In 1905, the Scots painter, John Duncan Fergusson staged his first solo exhibition at the Baillie Gallery, and among the exhibits was a canvas depicting a polychrome Japanese Statuette (1903, Perth and Kinross Council). This picture, reproduced in The Studio in 1907, was freely painted in a manner that anticipates Fergusson's later experiments with 'Fauve' colour. Its confident handling would have impressed Orpen, an artist whose eye was tuned and receptive to qualities found in the work of others and it is unlikely that he would not at least have seen the picture in reproduction. If Orpen's expressive handling derived in part from an awareness of the work of the Scots painter, its development was undoubtedly encouraged by the painting's first owner, Mrs Florence Evelyn St George. Daughter of "The Sphinx of Wall Street", George F. Baker, the celebrated New York banker, Mrs St George was married to a distant cousin of Orpen's. From 1908 until the onset of war in 1914, the two were in close contact, she acting as patron, procurer of commissions and general advisor. It was with her encouragement that the artist began to embrace the bravura of the present Still Life. His regular summer holidays at Howth among his adoring Dublin students after 1909 inevitably involved visits to Mrs St George's villa near Galway. On one occasion in 1912 he illustrated a letter to her showing the Chinese war god with arms raised, wielding a sword (Private Collection) and asking her to 'forgive the drawing as usual it shows nothing of the beauty of the original'. The extended Irish sojourns and intense discussion on artistic matters inevitably boosted his confidence and carried Orpen forward to the remarkable 'Irish trilogy' and landscapes of the Western Front. We may even recall this warrior god as we study the Aran Islander guarding the 'Holy Well' in the Orpen's most complex allegory. Searching the glazed surfaces of this ancient figure around 1908, Orpen was reaching back into the art of the past and to an exotic culture one that was barely understood in Britain at the time. As the Opium Wars became a distant memory, travellers noted that China was opening up to the West, and with this came dismay that 'Chinese beauty' was made to co-exist with 'western ugliness'. The trade in Chinese artefacts begun in the seventeenth century, gathered pace in the Edwardian years. Great collections were formed and bequeathed to British museums, but few viewed these trophies with greater curiosity than the Irish painter who placed the stoneware War God statuette in front of a blue-black curtain and painted its portrait. We are grateful to Christopher Pearson of The Orpen Research Project and Professor Kenneth McConkey for compiling this catalogue entry.
Auction: Whyte's -May 26, 2014 - DublinLot number: 28
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Sir William Orpen RA RI RHA (1878-1931) AN ONLOOKER IN FRANCE  ILLUSTRATED WITHIN BY THE ARTIST book illustrated, signed, inscribed and dated 9.75 by 7in., 24.375 by 17.5cm. P Illustrated with a humorous self-portrait of Orpen holding a glass of whiskey on the front free-endpaper of his book An Onlooker in France 1917-1919, published by Williams and Norgate, London, 1924. Illustration is... More Sir William Orpen RA RI RHA (1878-1931) AN ONLOOKER IN FRANCE  ILLUSTRATED WITHIN BY THE ARTIST book illustrated, signed, inscribed and dated 9.75 by 7in., 24.375 by 17.5cm. P Illustrated with a humorous self-portrait of Orpen holding a glass of whiskey on the front free-endpaper of his book An Onlooker in France 1917-1919, published by Williams and Norgate, London, 1924. Illustration is dedicated and signed, London, 1930.
Auction: Sotheby's -May 22, 2014 - LondonLot number: 278
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Exhibited Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, William Orpen Centenary Exhibition, 1978, no.56 (lent by Major Hamilton) Sir William Orpen, R.W.S., N.E.A.C., R.A., R.H.A. 1878-1931 PORTRAIT INTERIOR: LOUISA CAROLINE ELIZABETH HAMILTON oil on canvas 67 by 51cm., 26¼ by 20in. Original canvas. The surface is dirty and there are areas of paint separation and craquelure across the work. Ultraviolet light reveals an opaque varnish and old areas of infilling. Held in a gilt plaster frame.
Auction: Bonhams -Mar 11, 2014 - LondonLot number: 134
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Sir William Orpen, R.A., H.R.H.A. (British, 1878-1931) Caricature signed and inscribed 'My dear Ferraro - I also very much regret/I have been unable lately to lunch or dine at/Cirio's - most certainly you are unsurpassed -/may your shadows never grow less/all good things/William Orpen' (lower centre) ink 22.8 x 17.3 cm. (9 x 6 3/4 in.) Footnotes PROVENANCE: The Collection of René de Solier