Tess Jaray - Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Charity Auction London Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | Phillips
  • Tess Jaray is one of the most significant British artists working today. A graduate of The Slade School of Fine Art in the 1950s, for the past six decades she has explored the possibilities of creating space within abstract painting. Hallmarks of her quiet, refined and sophisticated work are the examination of repetition, pattern and the relationship with her surroundings.

    Solomon and The Queen of Sheba III is an exquisite example of Jaray’s masterful handling of form, composition and colour to create a harmonious whole. Her work abounds with references to Art History, and this painting belongs to a series completed in 2019 inspired by the paintings of Piero della Francesca. Jaray is particularly sensitive to light and space – recalling the first time she saw della Francesca’s work, she commented “one is staggered to see pure light distilled and collected in these simple shapes.”i In this work, five pale circles and an off-centre rectangle hover above two green fields. Light is inseparable from colour, and painting radiates ‘pure light’ in the contrast between the greens and pinks.
    'In the early 1960s I visited Italy on a scholarship and saw the work of Piero della Francesca for the first time. The experience of seeing his frescos, many still in situ where they were painted some 600 years ago, has stayed with me throughout the decades.' —Tess JarayJaray fist received critical acclaim in the 1960s for her particular use of hard-edged painting. She has had important solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1973), Ashmolean Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery (1984), Serpentine Gallery (1988), and most recently at the Vienna Secession (2020). She taught at The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, from 1968 until 1999. Over the last twenty years Jaray has completed a succession of major public art projects throughout the United Kingdom. She was made an Honorary Fellow of RIBA (Royal Institute for British Architects) in 1995 and a Royal Academician 2010. Her work is in established national collections including the Arts Council Collection, Government Art Collection and Tate Collection. 


    Studio portrait; ©️Turkina Faso, 2022. All rights reserved. Courtesy Karsten Schubert, London.

    i Tess Jaray, Tess Jaray: Piero Inspirations, London, 2021, n.p. 

    • Description

      Condition reports, Lot descriptions and information in respect of Lots included in this Online-Only Auction have been prepared exclusively by Whitechapel Gallery following Whitechapel Gallery’s assessment of the Lots. Phillips and its staff are not responsible in any way for such statements, representations or opinions or for any other information provided in respect of the Lots, whether by Whitechapel Gallery, on Phillips website or in any other form.

    • Provenance

      Donated by the artist and Karsten Schubert, London

    • Exhibited

      East Winterslow, New Art Centre, Tess Jaray: From Piero and other paintings, 23 Jan - 3 May 2021 (illustrated)


Solomon and the Queen of Sheba III

signed, inscribed and dated 'Tess Jaray 2019 Virgin & Child with Saints & Angels' on the reverse
acrylic on panel
60 x 60 cm (23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.)
Painted in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

£8,000 - 12,000 


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