2017-11-22-2018-10-15 --- 2018-10-15 09:34:43--18
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LOT :116
Frederick E. McWilliam HRUA RA (1909-1992)
Sitting Up Girl II (1970)
Bronze, 25 x 22 x 15cm (10 x 8¾ x 6'')
Estimate EUR : €7,000.00 - €10,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


Frederick E. McWilliam HRUA RA (1909-1992)
Sitting Up Girl II (1970)
Bronze, 25 x 22 x 15cm (10 x 8¾ x 6'')
Signed with initials and numbered 1/5, Galizia Foundry

Provenance: Acquired from the Ulster Museum exhibition, April- May 1981, by the present owners.


Exhibited: Waddington Gallery, 1971; FE McWilliam Retrospective Arts Council of Northern Ireland touring exhibition, Ulster Museum, April May, 1981, cat. no. 88; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, May June 1981; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, July August 1981; Gordon Gallery, Derry, 1984; Shambles Gallery, Hillsborough, Co. Down, 1988; New Art Centre.


Literature; F.E.McWilliam, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Catalogue no. 95, illus. p. 68; The Sculptor F.E.McWilliam Ferran & Holman, Lund Humphries, 2012, no. 356, illus. p. 151; New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury, England.



McWilliam regarded sculpture primarily as a means of personal expression and as Roland Penrose wrote in 1964 that McWilliam is an inventor of styles. The variety we see in his work is a symptom of his restless enquiry into the substance of living things.. and added that He has the capacity to relate our daily existence with existence which is fundamental and timeless. He has above all the understanding and instincts of a poet.


McWilliam, who evolved a new series every year, began his playful Girl Series in 1969, which ended in 1972 when he began his emotionally charged Women of Belfast in response to the bombing of the Abercorn Restaurant in Belfast. The Girl Series is McWilliam at his most playful and joyful, depicting each of his girls in various conversational or provocative poses. He loved the coquettishness and movement of women, as they reclined, kneeled or sat, as in Sitting-up Girl II, depicting women with the keen observation of an admirer who was a loving husband and father of two daughters.


McWilliam brings movement into the Sitting-up Girl by using contrasting surfaces of polished bronze against textured, darkened bronze, using the planes of the outstretched resting leg against the strong upright form of the raised leg, upon which the girls right arm rests. She exudes an air of silent patience, waiting for the resumption of the conversation or the end of her modelling session.


After one year at the Belfast Art School, McWilliam trained at the Slade School of Art in London where he met a fellow Slade student, Beth Crowthers, who became his wife in 1932. The Slade was renowned for its emphasis on accurate and fine drawing and McWilliam was enrolled as a fine art student in painting with sculpture as a secondary subject. The Slade training is evident in the fine drawn lines, etched in the face, the legs and the hands of the female sitter, especially in the fine delineation of the fingers of the left hand, defined against the sitters thigh. The simple depiction of the face has echoes of the women in Picassos etchings of the 1930s, understandably so, as McWilliam went to Paris with Beth in 1931 to settle there and become a fulltime artist. He later recalled When I lived in Ireland, I only wanted to get out of it to where the action in the visual arts was Paris.


McWilliams lifelong friend, the Irish landscape painter, the late T.P. Flanagan, believed that these defined figures of the Girl Series, best exemplified McWilliams drawing ability, his mastery of form, his creative use of the pose, highlighting the contrast of shadow and light; polished smooth surfaces against dark unpolished areas, emphasizing the three dimensional qualities of this perfectly posed and tranquilly balanced figure.


Dr Denise Ferran

October 2017


Hammer Price : €16,000.00
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