Leon Kossoff - Evening & Day Editions London Thursday, June 6, 2024 | Phillips
  • “I walked once again down Brick Lane toward Christ Church, Spitalfields, a building which like St Paul's has always been part of my life ... and, in the dusty sunlight of that August day, when this part of London still looks and feels like the London of Blake's Jerusalem, I find myself involved once again in making drawings and the idea for a painting begins to emerge.” – Leon KossoffLeon Kossoff had a deeply person connection to the towering structure of Christ Church, Spitalfields, in east London, as he grew up in the local area following his family’s emigration from Ukraine. He first drew the church in the 1950s when it was semi-derelict following World War II. He then returned to the subject in the 1970s, when Christ Church came under threat of demolition. But, it was in the 1980s, promptly after reading Peter Ackroyd’s novel Hawksmoor, that he began a renewed engagement with the subject that would endure for the next two decades.


    Much alike Ackroyd’s novel, Kossoff’s artistic treatment of Christ Church, and London more generally, embodies the fleeting, fast-paced dynamism as well as the stubbornly resilient and consistent character of the city. Kossoff made etchings of Christ Church in multiple seasons, capturing the church as stoic and unmoving amid the transient rhythm of both nature and urban life. The bustling lower half of the composition teems with energy, capturing the fast-pace of city-dwellers navigating their daily routines. Through quick, frenetic lines and impulsive marks, Kossoff encapsulates the dynamism of the scene, where the horizontal movement of passersby counters the vertical force of the monumental architecture, embodying the perpetual flux of London’s streets. Rooted in Kossoff's own experience, his engagement with Christ Church reflects a profound dialogue between past and present, seeking to immortalise the building's history while capturing the essence of contemporary urban life.“Time is short… soon the mass of this building will be dwarfed by more looming office blocks and overshadowed, the characters of the building will be lost forever, for it is by its monumental flight into unimpeded space that we remember this building.” – Leon Kossoff



Etching with aquatint and drypoint, on Arches paper, with full margins.
I. 55.6 x 47.6 cm (21 7/8 x 18 3/4 in.)
S. 66.8 x 56.7 cm (26 1/4 x 22 3/8 in.)

Signed, titled, dated and numbered 'A/P No 4 10 Nov 89' in pencil (an artist's proof, the edition was 25), unframed.

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£1,000 - 1,500 

Sold for £1,080

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 6 - 7 June 2024