Waterhouse & Dodd are pleased to announce a major retrospective exhibition of works by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham to open in June. The selection of over 35 paintings and drawings is entirely sourced through the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust and many of the works have never been on public display before.
Works covering a 60 year career will be on view, from a 1940 watercolour of the Minack Theatre through to her late expressionist acrylic paintings from the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although Waterhouse and Dodd have a long history in dealing with St Ives artists, including Barns-Graham, our representation of the estate is a relatively new venture.
Jamie Anderson comments:
“Despite our relationship with the Trust being in its infancy we have already enjoyed considerable success with Willie’s works. What we have found interesting is that of all the works we have sold; only one has stayed in the UK. The majority have gone to collectors in America with another major work selling to a German collector. This is both a reflection of the international reach of our gallery, and also the growing interest in British abstraction amongst oversees collectors.”
The exhibition coincides with a renaissance in the market for Mid-Century abstraction. This trend has been evident for some time but was emphasised in the November round of auctions, particularly the David Bowie sale. Bowie was a keen admirer of Barns-Graham’s works, and a glacier painting owned by Bowie broke the artist’s auction record in the dedicated evening sale. Despite its modest size, the painting took £106,250. The following day a view of Zennor sold in the accompanying day sale for £62,500 despite a pre-sale estimate of £12,000 - £18,000 (W&D were one of the unfortunate under bidders).
The exhibition will display Barns-Graham’s full repertoire of imagery. Beginning with the early figurative work we move on first to examples of her early rock form abstractions before coming to the gestural paintings of the 1950s and early 1960s that were inspired by her travels overseas. The 1960s and 1970s marked a growing interest in simpler abstract forms where she explored the use of repeated shapes and their relationship with colour and movement. For Wilhelmina Barns-Graham the world around her was a constant source of ideas. From the 1980s onwards we see more distinctly a reconnection to nature and in the second half of the decade a return towards a more gestural painting style. Our show will show Barns-Graham to be an innovator and pioneer whose work has been unfairly overlooked when compared to her male peers.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. For press enquiries, please contact Jamie Anderson (+44 20 7734 7800).