Joan Eardley Painting for Auction at Bonhams

An important and rare work on paper of Glasgow street children by Joan Eardley which has not been seen since it was bought direct from the artist in the mid 1950s is to be auctioned at Bonhams sale of Scottish Art in Edinburgh on 21 April. It is estimated at between £50,000-70,000.

Eardley was an inveterate sketcher of children, often on scraps of paper or sandpaper. Some of these were used as preparatory studies, others just done for pleasure. They have become particularly collectable in recent years.

Fully realised and signed compositions on paper are rare, however, and this is an important rediscovery – a highly-worked Glasgow street scene similar to the ‘Rottenrow’ series, inspired by her photographs of bomb damage, graffiti and boarded up shops. Eardley was literally recording social history – the changing face of a city. Executed in watercolour, gouache, ink and chalk, the figures are depicted in a highly expressive lattice of lines and pigment. The artist has also used collage, laying on another sheet to create the kerb effect. The artist also uses pure colour to great effect – the red brick, yellow street light and particularly vibrant blue she used to underpin Glasgow pictures throughout her career.

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