An original 1979 charcoal drawing, Derrick Latimer Sayer Reclining Female Nude.
A large, exceptionally fine charcoal drawing, on smooth lightweight drawing paper, of a study of a reclining female nude drawn from the side, by modern artist Derrick Latimer Sayer. The jagged thickness of the charcoal lines provides a striking contrast against the smooth graduations of the shadows along the body, giving a sense of the nude 'emerging', as if sculptural, from the linearity of her surroundings. It is possible that Sayer, as a Neo-Romantic artist who looked towards the traditions of the past to inform the present, was influenced by Michelangelo's subtractive method of sculpture, by which a figure emerged slowly from a solid piece of stone.
Initialled and dated lower left.
There is some creasing to the paper, due to its delicate nature, including three soft creases extending vertically down the sheet. They do not, however, significantly comprise the work.
59.5cm x 42cm.
This work is one of a bold contemporary collection of female nude studies, comprising a range of media from watercolour, to chalk, charcoal and gouache, by Neo-Romantic and pop artist Derrick Latimer Sayer (1912-1992). With a career that spanned from the spiritualism of postwar English landscapes, to the bright, optical playfulness of 1960s Pop art, this collection embodies Sayer’s status as a Janus figure that used the art of the past to inform his experimental engagement with the present.
Sayer had a distinguished start to his career, having studied at the Chelsea School of Art in the early 1930s under Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore. In 1936 he founded the Mousehole Group Art School in Cornwall with fellow painters George Lamborn and Guy Allen, and for the next few years he exhibited at a number of small local galleries, while also executing commercial advertising work for major companies such as Shell Oil. The 1940s and 50s were a period of widespread travelling, teaching and experimentation for Sayer, as he founded the Army Art Centre in 1945, worked in the South of France in 1949 and displayed works at the Leicester, Redfern and Winton Galleries across the 1950s.
In 1966, he took up the helm as the Head of Art at the Chelsea Westminster Adult Education Institute, a position he held until his retirement in 1982. The majority of the works in our collection date from later in this period, in the 1970s and early 1980s, with the latest dated 1981, a year shy of his retirement. Ten of Derricks works can be found at the Chelsea Westminster Hospital Arts Project, hung alongside a permanent collection that includes Patrick Heron, Howard Hodgkin, and Sian Tucker.
Sayer was known for his studies of female nudes, particularly the examination of the nude in nature, where he contrasted the curving line of the form with the more angular patterns and textures found in the organic environment. He is noted as a member of Neo-Romanticism, a term applied in 1942 to such landscape painters as Paul Nash and Keith Vaughan, whose style harnessed the spirit of the nineteenth century British landscape tradition with the unnatural colouring and abstraction of postwar modernism. Though a number of works in this collection are particularly evocative of the 1960s Pop art and design, the majority of our nudes embody Sayer’s even late dedication to this kind of artistic tradition, particularly Old Master nude studies executed in sanguine and white. Despite these stylistic variances, Sayer renders his manifesto with a repeated emphasis on the flow of pure line, with the curvature of the body made visible regardless of medium, generation and composition.
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Product code: JJ-748