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02 June 2014
Auction News





Demand for works by Sir Kyffin Williams, the defining Welsh artist of the 20th century, exceeded expectations in the Welsh Sale, held this time in the Cardiff saleroom of the Principality’s leading fine art auctioneers Rogers Jones Co.

One collector paid a total of £62,000 to secure a number of Kyffin’s watercolours and oils, while a Welsh businessman in the United States won the top lot of the sale with a bid of £39,000 for the Anglesey artist’s Sunset over Penmon.

The signed oil on canvas, 26 x 35 ins (69 x 89 cms) was done late in the artist’s career and captured the setting sun in an Impressionistic manner with a series of horizontal colours and effects produced by Sir Kyffin’s technique of applying paint with his palette knife. The painting had been purchased by the vendor from the Albany Gallery in Cardiff and was bought on the telephone for a price above the presale low estimate.

An Anglesey landscape by the artist titled Llanfihangel Tinsilwy had a label on the reverse showing its original price of £325. Estimated this time at £5,000-7,000, the oil on canvas, 19.5 x 23.5 ins (50 x 60 cms) sold for £9,200.

Sir Kyffin’s watercolours were also in great demand. Most valuable proved to be a Snowdonia view with an elderly farmer using his walking stick to struggle over the rocky terrain which was estimated at £3,000-3,500 but sold for £5,200.

A pencil and colourwash sketched portrait of a farmer in a peaked cap was signed with initials and also came from the Albany Gallery where it had been purchased in 2004. It sold on mid-estimate for £3,300, while a pencil and watercolour study of show jumpers and a watercolour of the Aberglaslyn Pass each sold on estimate for £3,000.

Nearest contender to Sir Kyffin for top honours was Donald McIntyre (1923-2003) whose Scottish Colourist roots shine through in the palette of acrylics he developed in his adopted Wales.

Like most of his contemporaries, McIntyre spent summers painting on the Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland, one of his landscapes titled Blue Day, Cul Phail, proving to be among the most valuable. Estimated at £2,500-3,000 and measuring 18 x 24 ins (45 x 60 cms), it sold for £4,400, while a rocky coastalscape with distant island, titled Tresnish Isles, 19.5 x 23.25 (49 x 59 cms) sold on mid estimate for £4,200.

Most valuable, however, was a seascape painted by McIntyre in Cornwall, titled Green Sea, Portscatho, which sold for £4,500. Purchased from the Albany Gallery in 1999, the work measured 21 x 25 ins (53 x 63 cms).

Also worthy of special mention was a watercolour of a woodland cottage by John Knapp Fisher (b. 1931), signed and dated 1985, which sold for £2,600 against an estimate of £1,500-2,000.

Born in London, Fisher studied graphic design and typography at Maidstone College of Art and after national service with the Royal Military Mounted Police, he became an exhibition designer and subsequently a theatre set designer. He moved to live in Carmarthenshire in Wales and in 1967, opened his own studio gallery in Croesgoch on the St David’s Peninsula in Pembrokeshire.

Entries are now invited for inclusion in Rogers Jones’ next Welsh Sale, which will also feature a section devoted to Dylan Thomas, marking the centenary of the birth of the Swansea-born literary giant. Already consigned is the last known portrait of the poet painted before his death in 1953 and entries will include letters, photographs books and other ephemera.

For further information, please contact the auctioneers on 02920 708125 orben.rogersjones@rogersjones.co.uk.

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