Queen of Sheba with Gold Lump

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  • Provenance

    Union Gallery, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Tønsberg, Haugar Art Museum, Rose Wylie WOW-WOW, 19 January - 10 March 2013, p. 11 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Eleanor Ray, 'Another Route to Particularity: Islanders in Copenhagen', artcritical, 16 February 2015, online
    Olivia Parkes, 'Britain's 'Hottest New Artist, Now 82, on Finally Being Taken Seriously', Broadly, 11 March 2016, online (illustrated)
    Clarrie Wallis, Rose Wylie, London, 2018, pp. 67, 71 (illustrated p. 71)

  • Catalogue Essay

    A result of Rose Wylie’s candid observations of the world around her, the artist’s large-scale canvases brim with unbridled energy and jubilant colour. Having been painting for most of her life, Wylie, now 85, has come to prominence in the last decade with multiple international solo shows, including at Tate Britain, London in 2013 and the Serpentine in 2017-18. Two years following her seminal exhibition at Tate, she became a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

    Queen of Sheba with Gold Lump, 2012, a striking, bold work in two parts, references the legendary Queen of Sheba from the Hebrew Bible, and the 1921 eponymous blockbuster in early cinema, reflecting Wylie’s fascination with film culture. Propelled into modernity, the present composition is marked by light-hearted spirit and subtle ironies. Striving to create a naïve and unsophisticated effect, the artist’s paintings are filled with personality, each awash with a myriad of references from art history and popular culture, including imagery from magazines, films, newspapers and televised football matches. Citing the influence of Philip Guston, who shifted from abstraction to energetic figurative works, Wylie notes how his late pictures 'were completely new and terribly exciting, very risky – and stunning. Certain painting has personality. Picasso’s cardboard guitars had personality. And late Guston came up with a very strong personality’ (Rose Wylie, quoted in Alaistair Sooke ‘Rose Wylie: I don’t like arty', The Telegraph, 6 June 2015, online). Commenting on her strong art historical lineage, Wylie notes ‘The childlike quality [of my work] is difficult for some people...But then they find that actually there’s stuff in it relating to Dürer and Cézanne – indisputable figures: Dürer, crikey! Cézanne! (Rose Wylie, quoted in Alaistair Sooke, ‘Rose Wylie: I don’t like arty', The Telegraph, 6 June 2015, online).

    Remarking on how we absorb and process memory, Queen of Sheba with Gold Lump reflects Wylie’s creative ability to engage in dialogue with the contemporary public sphere, before committing it to the realm of history. Laying her large unstretched canvases on the floor, the artist works in the round, later gluing painted canvas onto a larger canvas before stretching it. Wylie’s, ‘refined strategy of pitting apparent simplicity and directness against the works’ multiple medial coding’ cements her at the forefront of modern-day artistic creation (Magdalena Kröner, trans. Jane Yager, ‘Rose Wylie’, Frieze, online).

2

Queen of Sheba with Gold Lump

indistinctly titled ‘ITH GOLD UMP’ on the left part; further indistinctly titled ‘OF SHEBA’ on the right part; each signed 'Rose Wylie' on the reverse; left part further inscribed and numbered '2 GOLD LUMP 1830' on the stretcher; right part further inscribed and numbered '1 QUEEN (HOOFS) 1830' on the stretcher
oil on canvas laid on canvas, in 2 parts
overall 182.9 x 346.7 cm (72 x 136 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2012.

Estimate
£80,000 - 120,000 ‡ ♠

sold for £175,000

Contact Specialist
Rosanna Widén
Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4060 rwiden@phillips.com

20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 7 March 2019