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Bridget Riley - 4th revision of June 23 - Study after cartoon for High sky
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Bridget Riley

4th revision of June 23 - Study after cartoon for High sky

Gouache and pencil on paper: 26 x 34.3 (in) / 66 x 87 (cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Bridget Riley '91; inscribed with the title lower left: 4th revision of June 23 -/ Study after Cartoon for High Sky

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Born London 1931

Ref: BZ 244


4th revision of June 23 - Study after Cartoon for High sky


Signed and dated lower right: Bridget Riley '91; inscribed with the title lower left: 4th revision of June 23 -/ Study after Cartoon for High Sky

Gouache and pencil on paper: 26 x 34 ¼ in / 66 x 87 cm

Frame size: 32 ¾ x 40 ¾ in / 83.2 x 103.5 cm

In a contemporary pine frame












Curwen Gallery, London

Karsten Schubert, London;

Private collection, UK, acquired from the above in the 1990s, then by descent



Basel, Art 24 Basel, 16th -21st June 1993



This radiant, prismatic work on paper directly relates to two large oil paintings by the artist; High sky, 1991 (private collection) and High sky 2, 1992 (Neues Museum, State Museum for Art and Design, Nuremberg). Discussing the first oil painting, Riley describes two opposing centres of action: ‘On the left the colour is more opaque, more vividly present, almost tactile – like sun-warmed stone, building firmer, denser space. To the right, the colour is open, airy like the sky above or reflections in water. There is a two-sidedness to the painting which I felt was taking me in a new direction.’[1]


Riley developed the dynamic structure of her Rhomboid paintings from 1986, introducing a diagonal movement from bottom left to top right to disrupt the verticality of her celebrated Egyptian stripes. These shimmering, fragmented fields of diamond planes are characterised by an unprecedented array of colours. The dramatic tonal range and complex colour construction, visible in this brilliant gouache, may have been inspired by the oblique correspondences, contrasts, echoes and modulations that Riley observed in the works of the great European, in particular, Venetian colourists. In 1989, Riley curated an exhibition of paintings chosen from the National Gallery, London, her selection including seven large figure compositions by Titian, Veronese, El Greco, Rubens, Poussin and Cézanne, the organisation of each work ‘shaped by diagonals’ and ‘characterised, if in varying degrees, by complex colour orchestrations.’ [2]















Born in London in 1931, Bridget Riley spent most of her childhood in Cornwall near Padstow in a cottage with her mother, aunt and younger sister, her father being away in the armed forces during the War.  From 1946-48 she was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, where she was introduced by her teacher Colin Hayes to the history of painting and encouraged to attend a local life class.  Riley went on to study at Goldsmith’s College of Art from 1949-52 under Sam Rabin and then at the RCA from 1952-5 at the same time as Frank Auerbach, Peter Blake, Joe Tilson and John Bratby. A long period of unhappiness followed her graduation from the RCA as Riley nursed her father after a serious car accident and subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown.  After a number of jobs she joined the J Walter Thompson advertising agency. 


In 1959 Riley took part in a summer school in Suffolk organised by Harry Thubron, and met Maurice de Sausmarez, who became her friend and mentor, going on to write the first monograph of her work.  On tour in Italy in the summer of 1960, Riley painted Pink Landscape, 1960, a key piece in her early development.  Having broken with Sausmarez and suffered an artistic crisis, her attempts to create an entirely black painting produced her first black-and-white works.  She held her first solo show 1962 at Gallery One, London and won the International Prize for painting at the 34th Venice Biennale in 1968, the first British contemporary painter and first woman ever to win. 


The work of Bridget Riley is represented in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The British Council; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; the Berardo Collection; Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Lisbon; the Arts Council Collection Hayward Gallery, London; the Tate, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Neues Museum, Nurnberg; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Kitasaku. 



[1] The artist cited in ‘Bridget Riley in conversation with Michael Harrison, 2011’, Bridget Riley Working Drawings, The Bridget Riley Art Foundation, Thames & Hudson, 2021, p.262.

[2] Robert Kudielka (ed.), The Eye’s Mind: Bridget Riley, Collected Writings 1965-1999, Thame & Hudson in association with the Serpentine Gallery and De Montfort University, London, 1999, p.226.

Other Works By
Bridget Riley:

Bridget Riley - Study no.1 for Studio International Cover


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