Caroline Walker - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, October 13, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Forming part of the Sunset series by the Scottish artist Caroline Walker, Study for Training I provides the viewer with a snapshot into the life of an aging beauty queen in a modernist Hollywood Hills home. Through the various accessories left by absent attendants, she appears strikingly isolated within her environment as she exercises amongst the towering perennial greenery.


    Hollywood Hills and The Legacy of Film

    Walker buys into the romantic fantasy of the Hollywood Hills as presented by the works of Slim Aarons; using cinematic rhetoric, modernist architecture and intricate character development to build the world of the ex-Miss Colorado. She draws from the on-screen trope of the Los Angeles woman: one whose enviable life of glamour, ease and affluence is an aspiration. Walker appropriates the culture surrounding blockbuster production by renting a home in the Hills and hiring a model to pose within the space. She takes on the process of movie making, curating carefully composed sets to produce compositions reminiscent of the golden age of film. Through painterly gestures that describe the body, unify the landscape, and exaggerate the relationship between human form and manmade luxury, Walker exaggerates the psychological tensions at charge within the image.


    The Artist Process and Oil Sketches

    Walker’s artistic process is well-established and fine-tuned. Initial compositions and details are captured in photographic form before making in situ ink sketches on paper. These elements are then collaged together and worked into oil sketches on primed paper, mapping out the final larger works on canvas.


    Caroline Walker, Training, 2017. Image: Peter Mallet. Courtesy GRIMM Amsterdam | New York, Artwork: © Caroline Walker. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022

    "When I was a little girl, all I painted or drew was women. They were either very glamorous and I called them ‘fancy ladies’, or they were thinly veiled depictions of my mum engaged in domestic chores. I guess I had this quite polarized idea of the roles women could occupy."
    —Caroline Walker

    Women as Walker’s Protagonist


    Throughout her work, Caroline Walker makes women the focal point. Walker’s chosen women are those typically viewed on the outskirts of society, allowing the artist to explore the myriad of social, cultural, economic, racial, and political factors that affect women’s lives today. From the luxury of Los Angeles and Palm Springs to the temporary social housing of female asylum seekers arriving in Europe from Africa and Asia, to the nail bars of London, Walker deftly broaches both every day and provocative subjects, including domestic roles, gender stereotypes and ageism. The Sunset series addresses the latter of these, highlighting the complexities of beauty standards as set on the big screen, the after effect of the Golden Age and the psychological subtleties around the ideal female aesthetics.


    Caroline Walker, Filing, 2018. Artwork: © Caroline Walker. All rights reserved, DACS 2022


    As a summation of her lifelong musings of women’s place within the world, Walker’s work speaks to viewers on a deeper level: to interact with a painting by Caroline Walker is to enter a dialogue on feminine existence, human psyche, and reclaimed agency. The cinematic atmosphere of Walker’s works is reminiscent of the canvases of American realist Edward Hopper but, rather than scenes set in bars or diners, Walker’s women are shown in spaces traditionally defined as feminine. By illuminating the unnoticed feminine experience, she defies the canonical masculine and celebrates the everyday life of women.

    "The paintings aren’t just about documenting the unseen but also about trying to give voice and agency to those women. In some ways, it’s actually become more of a celebration of this work that we all recognise much more now, this unseen women’s work"
    —Caroline Walker

    Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942, Art Institute of Chicago. Image: © Art Institute of Chicago / Friends of American Art Collection / Bridgeman Images
    • Provenance

      Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Study for Training I

signed, titled and dated 'STUDY FOR TRAINING I Caroline Walker 2017.' on the reverse
oil on canvas paper
46.4 x 61.2 cm (18 1/4 x 24 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

£25,000 - 35,000 ‡♠

Sold for £60,480

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 13 October 2022