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Frieze Masters 2019

Richard Green is delighted to return to Frieze Masters with another powerful presentation, this year focussing on Modern British art's representation of Modern British life from LS Lowry's walk into the working week traversing the industrial landscape, to the shimmering heat-haze of Sir John Lavery's Gatsby-esque European getaway, to William Roberts ingenious hymn to the beautiful game played (fittingly) in Regent's park on a Sunday morning.

The crossroads, exhibited at the Royal Academy of 1954, is a superb example of Lowry's iconic townscapes from the beginning of the 1950s, illustrating the importance of the relationship between architecture and the individual in his paintings. A classic illustration of his industrial subject matter and style, the lively intersection opens the urban environment framed by factories, allowing for the ebb and flow of animated figures, full of energy and intent, leading the eye through the composition with touches of vermillion, ochre and black. During an interview Lowry once said ‘The buildings were there and I was fascinated by the buildings. I had never seen anything like them before, but I was fascinated by the people who lived and worked in them. A country landscape is fine without people, but an industrial set without people is an empty shell.'[1] This exceptional work, navigating work and play, was previously owned by Alan Tillotson of the famous Bolton family, local patrons and publishers whose prosperity sprung from their ancestors founding of the Bolton Evening News.

While Lowry preferred to populate his iconic street scenes, Lavery luxuriates in the uninterrupted view of the peaceful swimming pool, silent save for quiet ripples, the glamourous young sunbathers having dispersed. From New Year's Day, 1930 until the end of March, Sir John and Lady Lavery rented a villa in the grounds of the opulent Hotel Beau Site in Cannes adjacent to its gardens and tennis courts for the winter season. The house and pool are those represented in A blue swimming pool at Cannes, and here Lavery quickly established his sunlit studio with a view of the Isle Ste Marguerite in the bay of Cannes.

While working on St Patrick's Purgatory, Lough Derg (Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin), destined for the Royal Academy in May, Lavery produced smaller pictures in the grounds of the villa, the most valuable of which, since it records his house and pool, is the present work. It was well-placed to observe the world's wealthy. Cannes had of course, been favoured by tourists since the days of Lord Brougham in the 1830s and as the century progressed, it rivalled Nice in popularity.[2] While Queen Victoria preferred the latter, her playboy son, later Edward VII, was a habitué of Cannes, and the English colony grew as a consequence.[3] As Captain Leslie Richardson noted in 1927, Cannes was, ‘the playground…of the fashionable world of Europe. In no other Riviera resort will you see so many well-gowned women…it has an atmosphere of refined luxury that is found nowhere along the Riviera…Indeed, no man can claim to rank as a plutocrat who is without his floating palace in Cannes harbour.'[4]

Roberts late masterpiece, Goal, bought directly from the Royal Academy exhibition of 1968 by George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood, was the centrepiece of Pallant House Gallery's recent retrospective, William Roberts: England at Play. A complex network of goalposts, pitch markings and vibrantly striped kit, Goal is a tour de force of Roberts' documentation of Modern British life, playfully capturing the dynamism and camaraderie of weekend football, its everyday drama recorded by box brownie wielding photographer's. Roberts chronicled many different sporting activities, but this is his first painting of football, produced perhaps during the national euphoria that followed England's triumph in the 1966 World Cup.

The display will also include still lifes and interiors by Roderic O'Conor, Ivon Hitchens, Cedric Morris, Euan Uglow, William Scott, amongst other works.

[1] The artist cited in J. Sandling and M. Leber, Lowry's City, Lowry Press, Salford, 2000, p.17.

[2] Robert Kanigel, High Season. How one French Riviera Town has seduced Travellers for Two Thousand Years, Viking, 2002, pp.108-9.

[3] Patrick Howarth, When the Riviera was Ours, 1977, Century Travellers edition, 1988, pp.74-9.

[4] Capt. Leslie Richardson, Things Seen on the Riviera, Seeley, Service & Co, 1927, p.56. Extract from an essay by Kenneth McConkey

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Frieze Masters 2019

Regent's Park, London

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