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Monumental Painting by Sir Stanley Spencer to be Unveiled After 60 Years

  • Auktion
    Monumental Painting by Sir Stanley Spencer to be Unveiled After 60 Years
    12.06.2018

SIR STANLEY SPENCER’S CHRIST PREACHING AT COOKHAM REGATTA: PUNTS BY THE RIVER A SELF-PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUTH PAINTED IN THE YEAR BEFORE HIS DEATH – TO BE UNVEILED FOR FIRST TIME IN 60 YEARS – d MODERN & POST-WAR BRITISH ART EVENING SALE SOTHEBY’S LONDON, 12 JUNE 2018

Frances Christie, Sotheby’s Head of Modern & Post-War British Art, said: “The star of this season’s Modern British art offering is a monumental painting by Stanley Spencer from his great series in which he imagined Christ coming to preach at Cookham Regatta. Inspired by the great painters of the early Italian Renaissance, Spencer’s symbolic realism is played out on a majestic scale that is nonetheless familiar as quintessentially British everyday life. We are thrilled to be presenting this work at auction for the first time, and to put it on public view for the first time since 1961.”

Stanley Spencer is an artist for whom the intimate and everyday was inseparable from the eternal and ineffable. His paintings transform ordinary people and familiar places, with his native village of Cookham portrayed as a Holy Land of miracles and divine intervention. Punts by the River belongs to his series ‘Christ Preaching from Cookham Regatta’, envisaged as one of six paintings to accompany his 17-foot-long centre piece of the subject that remained unfinished on his death and which now hangs at the Stanley Spencer gallery in Cookham. Having remained in the same private collection since it was acquired in 1959, the painting will go on view to the public for the first time since 1961, as part of our Modern British Week exhibitions on Friday 8 – Tuesday 12 June 2018.

Early Regattas often highlighted the social distance between punters and those who were confined to the riverbank. Spencer, as the sixth son of a piano teacher from the Home Counties, had always seen the idea of renting a punt as ‘an unattainable Eden’ reserved only for the upper classes. In this self-portrait – painted in the same year that he received his knighthood – Spencer realises the tantalising desire of floating on the river. The ‘Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta’ series was part of Spencer’s ‘Church House’ project – an ambitious scheme that united all of Spencer’s most personal and visionary paintings. He imagined these work coming together in the ultimate chapel devoted to love and loss, which, after the death of his first wife Hilda in 1950, became something of an obsession. Spencer would write the departed Hilda letters on the progress he had made, continuing the correspondence until he passed away.






  • 12.06.2018
    Auktion »
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus »

    MODERN & POST-WAR BRITISH ART EVENING SALE
    SOTHEBY’S LONDON, 12 JUNE 2018



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  • Sir Stanley Spencer, Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta: Punts by the River, oil on canvas, 1958  (est. £3,000,000 – 5,000,000)
    Sir Stanley Spencer, Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta: Punts by the River, oil on canvas, 1958 (est. £3,000,000 – 5,000,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
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