Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine

Still life, post-sexism

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Ladies day... Laura Knight stole the show as female artists enjoyed their day in the sun, writes John Vincent.

For centuries, women artists got a raw deal – overshadow­ed by their male counterpar­ts and often shunned by the art establishm­ent. Social attitudes to middle-class women becoming artists played its part. Married women often took their husbands’ names, leading to mistaken identity and incorrect attributio­n, while some unscrupulo­us dealers fuelled the reluctance to accept female artists by substituti­ng them with the names of male painters.

As gender equality slowly increased, Britain is able to boast its fair share of celebrated female artists over the last 100 years – including Staithes Group painter Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970), the first woman to become a full member of the

Royal Academy in 1936, and Yorkshire’s own Dame Barbara Hepworth (19031975).

Others to achieve acclaim include Dorothea Sharp, Dora Carrington, sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink, Sheila Fell, Gwen John, Joan Eardley, Vanessa Bell, Bridget Riley, Rachael Whiteread, Jenny Saville, Anne Redpath, Helen Bradley, Sophie Ryder and Emily Young, described as “Britain’s greatest living stone sculptor”.

A tribute to the ladies of art came at an innovative Blazing a Trail: Modern British Women Artists sale at Bonhams in London where Laura Knight, who made her name in Staithes before moving to Cornwall, first to Newlyn and then Lamorna, stole the show with a magnificen­t oil, Sennen Cove, which fetched a whopping £500,250, seven times over mid-estimate. Another of her paintings, Waiting in the Wings, reflecting her interest in ballet, realised £35,250.

Northern favourite Helen Bradley (1900-1979) was also represente­d, her Uncle Tom’s Funeral Procession,

accompanie­d by her trademark descriptiv­e words, fetching £50,250, while Hepworth’s painting Three Forms

made £8,925.

The 63-lot sale fetched a total of £1.6m with 81 per sent sold and, to give an idea of current favourite 20th century women artists, here are some leading prices. Fisherman by Prunella Clough (19191999), a newly discovered work painted between 1946 and 1951 when she made frequent visits to Southwold, Suffolk, made a double estimate £62,250; and Poet, a stone carving by Emily Young (born 1951), realised £131,500.

Revision of January 10 by Bridget

Riley (born 1931) went for £19,000, the same price as that achieved for Mrs Ody

by Jessica Dismorr (1885-1939). Picking Flowers by Dorothea Sharp (1874-1955) fetched £55,250 and Winter, Cumberland

by Sheila Fell (1931-1979) also £55,250. Decent prices were also achieved for works by Evelyn Dunbar, Vanessa Bell, Gwen John, Sybil Andrews and

Anne Redpath.

 ?? ?? BY THE COAST: Staithes Group painter Dame Laura Knight’s Sennen Cove, which made more than £500,000.
BY THE COAST: Staithes Group painter Dame Laura Knight’s Sennen Cove, which made more than £500,000.
 ?? ?? MOURNING ATTIRE: Helen Bradley’s Uncle Tom’s Funeral Procession realised more than £50,000.
MOURNING ATTIRE: Helen Bradley’s Uncle Tom’s Funeral Procession realised more than £50,000.

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