2018-05-30-2019-01-23 --- 2019-01-23 01:35:42--18
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LOT :47
Mainie Jellett (1897-1944)
Abstract Composition
Estimate EUR : €20,000.00 - €30,000.00
Auction Date : 30-05-2018


Mainie Jellett (1897-1944)
Abstract Composition
Oil on canvas, 91 x 71cm (35¾ x 28'')
Signed and dated 1924

Abstract Composition belongs to the early pioneering years of Jelletts engagement with abstraction. In 1923 she exhibited her newly devised abstract paintings at the Society of Dublin Painters where they were greeted by much controversy. They were the first abstract paintings shown in Ireland. The interlocking forms, as in Abstract Composition, are indebted to cubism which Jellett learned of in Paris in 1920-21 with André Lhote, a distinguished painter and teacher. In 1921 she and Evie Hone worked in the studio of Albert Gleizes, whose ideas were very influential on her subsequent work. While there Gleizes was perfecting his technique of translation-rotation, a method of making abstract art using the dynamic forms of cubism. As described in Gleizess 1923 book, La Peinture et ses Lois the artist begins with the basic outline of the canvas and paints its surface in one colour, proceeding to select colours and shapes which echo this form. This is the static element of translation. In rotation, the cubist element, the artist rotates these basic forms to create a dynamic composition which introduces the idea of time and movement. One of the main purposes behind the aesthetic was to create an art which was enduring in its use of pictorial rules.

A complex interaction between geometric and organic forms is built up in Abstract Composition. At its centre an interlocking motif made of black, gold and orange contrasts with the cold blue and purple tones that dominate the rest of the painting. This form has a torch like quality and at its apex a halo of flame-like forms. The overlapping and interlocking forms of the painting create the notion of movement that was so central to Gleizess ideas on abstract art. Small rhythmic elements like the black patterning in the right-hand background and the purple stripes in the centre enrich the larger elements of the painting and introduce different levels of dynamism across its surface.

Unlike Jelletts later post 1927 cubist compositions Abstract Composition does not compromise with representational form. Remaining non-objective, it is an unequivocal statement in the new language of modern art. Jelletts intention in creating such experimental works was to make art that could be universally accessible and spiritual in its evocation of pure form and colour.

Dr Róisín Kennedy
May 2018


Hammer Price : €39,000.00
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