Sir Frank Bowling, R.A. - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York
    Bill Hodges Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2003

  • Catalogue Essay

    Created at the height of Frank Bowling’s investigation into the properties and possibilities of paint, Simon Helps (V), 1986, is an exquisite example of the artist’s masterful juxtaposition of colour and form. By the beginning of the 1980s, Bowling was in control of the techniques he had perfected over the previous two decades since his move to London in 1953 from his home town in Guyana, South America. Relocating to New York in 1966, Bowling was inspired by Abstract Expressionism’s commitment to the materiality and handling of paint in fields of colour.

    The present work attests to Bowling’s desire to elaborate new painterly procedures and create strikingly original compositions. By mixing acrylic with encaustic, a dense paste made from heated beeswax, Bowling has built up the surface texture to resemble a rich landscape of geometric ridges and fluid valleys, expertly rendered in fiery oranges, mustard tones of yellow and hues of turquoise.

    Simon Helps (V) perfectly encapsulates Bowling’s tireless urge to reinvent the process of painting and to invite a more physical engagement with its materiality. Still painting in his London studio at the age of 85, his critically acclaimed retrospective at the Tate Britain this summer truly cemented Bowling as a master of paint. An important moment in Bowling’s oeuvre, Simon Helps (V) confirms that, in the artist’s own words, ‘the possibilities of paint are never-ending’ (Frank Bowling, quoted in Imelda Barnard, ‘My Life Has Always Been About Painting’, Apollo Magazine, 1 July 2017, online).


Simon Helps (V)

signed ‘FRANK BOWLING’ on the reverse
acrylic and encaustic on canvas
186.6 x 81.3 cm (73 1/2 x 32 in.)
Executed in 1986.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £100,000

Contact Specialist

Tamila Kerimova
Director, Specialist
Head of Day Sale
+44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 3 October 2019