Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ambrose Mcevoy

['The Green Hat', a portrait of Mrs Claude Johnson]
signed 'McEvoy' (lower left)
oil on canvas
30 x 25 1/8 in. (76.2 x 63.8 cm.)
Painted in 1918.
Price Realized £10,200
McEvoy entered the Slade in 1893 at the age of fifteen at the suggestion of Whistler, and there enjoyed the company of Augustus John and William Orpen. Having experimented with landscapes and interior scenes he eventually found his true métier in portraiture. After the rapturous reception given to the painting Madame at the New English Art Club in 1914, McEvoy became one of the most original and sought after society portraitists of his age, and he exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy and the British Institution.

Mrs Claude Johnson was the wife of the joint managing director of Rolls Royce and she and her daughter Tink sat to the artist many times. Her husband was arguably McEvoy's foremost patron and in 1919 he published a limited edition catalogue of the artist's work, which was reprinted in 1923. The present picture is one of only twelve portraits reproduced with a colour plate in this edition. Another portrait of Mrs Johnson by McEvoy can be found in Tate Britain.

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