We’ve mentioned a few times previously that we love the work of artist Ken Law – and have a small collection of his 1960s prints – Hampstead High Street, Tower Bridge and New York Bridges, to date. Well, I was browsing a well-known online auction website a couple of weeks ago – and did a quick search for Ken Law to see if any of his vintage prints were currently for sale. My jaw dropped when this original oil painting appeared before my eyes – only just listed. Straight away I thought, “Oooooh, early 50th birthday present?!”.
The painting depicts Oldham – a Lancashire (now Greater Manchester) mill town about 15 miles from here. Perhaps former mill town might be more accurate now; at its peak, it was the largest cotton-spinning town in the world. Justin grew up in neighbouring Rochdale and often went to Oldham on Tommyfield’s flea market day – and for nights out in his youth! So this landscape is very much in his psyche – and mine too, as an honorary Northerner, residing here for nearly 20 years now.
It’s a classic Northern Industrial scene which we love – factories, terraced houses, chimneys – the Pennine moors in the distance. This picture captures it on a winter’s day, sun low in the sky, snow covering the rooftops and vehicles slipping & sliding down the hill!
Ken used oil on gesso – the surface being painted, scratched and gouged. It’s full of character and texture. We’re still researching, but we think that this painting was exhibited at The Royal Academy in the late 1960s.
By this point, you’ll realise that we can describe it quite accurately and have taken lots of photos – yes, it did become my 5oth birthday present – it arrived today!
I just couldn’t let the opportunity for a genuine Ken Law depicting favourite subject matter slip through my fingers. There are certainly no regrets now it’s arrived – it makes me happy just looking back at the photos in this post.
Much loved already – I’ll always remember when it came to live with us. A real birthday treat!
A couple of weeks ago a fellow vintage dealer posted a photo on Instagram of an artwork they owned. Straight away I recognised the artist’s work – we also own one of her paintings. Her name is Rosslyn Ruiz… and it was the first time we learned of her full name.
Ruiz tended to sign her work merely ‘Rosslyn’ hence the reason we couldn’t find out anything about her before that fateful day. Ever since then, I’ve been on a quest to find out more about her and other examples of her work.
After quite a few Google searches, I stumbled upon a photo taken of the back of one of her paintings on which a label was stuck with the following inscription:
Rosslyn Ruiz was born in London in 1935. She is completely self-taught and began painting professionally in 1960 working with most recognised mediums and unconventional ones as well.
Her need to ‘create without rules’ has enabled her to explored and expand her techniques in texture and form. By combining holograms and collage with more traditional materials she creates contemporary paintings and has developed a unique style that demonstrates excitement and free spirit.
Rosslyn has had many successful exhibitions in Europe, America and Spain. She became well recognised in the 60s after her work was purchased by celebrities such as John Lennon, Jaqui Dupre, Thora Hird, Haley Mills, Jack Palance and Charles Bronson.
She appears to be still practising and is currently a member of Ely Art Society.
Additional image credits:
Tamara de Lempicka has been a favourite artist of ours for years. Her work isn’t from our usual era – mid century modern – it’s straight out of the Art Deco and Jazz age.
de Lempicka’s work depicts her glamorous life and that of the time in which she lived. She came from a wealthy Polish family and lived a bohemian life, socialising with aristocrats and Hollywood film stars. She married a baron, had affairs with both men and women and travelled extensively, fleeing the Russian Revolution and then World War II.
Her painting style developed and changed throughout her career however, it’s her work from the 20s & 30s that’s our favourite. Portraits of fashionable flappers, open-topped sports cars, cubist skyscrapers. Her execution of fabric – the folds, the ruffles, the shadows – is outstanding!
A range of affordable prints and other decorative objects using her artworks can be found online. There are also lots of books about her paintings and her long and fascinating life.
Additional image credits:
Pinterest | Wikiart
We’ve only recently discovered the incredible work of Ecuadorian artist, Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999).
Guayasamín was a prolific producer of paintings, drawings, sculpture and jewellery. His award-winning works were often very political and sometimes controversial. He highlighted subjects such as poverty, injustice, political oppression, racism and the class divide in Latin America. His paintings can be haunting, unsettling and, at the same time, exquisitely beautiful.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Ecuador, visit the Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man) in the capital, Quito where many of his works can be viewed. It reminds us of Kettle’s Yard, but on a much larger scale.
1st Dibs | Artnet | Christies | eBay | Invaluable
Here are some of our vintage furniture and homeware purchases from this past week.
We’ll start with the painting – an original 1960s oil on board. It’s entitled ‘Waterfront’ and features a harbour scene with dock buildings, cranes and lights reflected in the still water.
The artist is J. Jennings.
Next, this superb lamp by Hadrill & Horstmann. It has a counterweight mechanism which not only looks great, but works very efficiently too – the perfect design combo. The West German pottery vases & planters always sell well – especially with that distinctive flash of volcanic orange.
And more vibrant colour… this G-Plan stool with its original yellow fabric upholstery didn’t take much deciding upon.
It’s a fabulous shape too and went straight into the boot of the car!
There are slightly more muted tones in this studio pottery lamp base, but it’s no less attractive.
We’ve got a friend whose studio pottery collection is ever expanding.
She gave an, ‘oooooooh that’s nice!’, when she saw it – and has thus managed to squeeze one more piece into her house!
In addition to the usual furniture, pottery and lamps that we buy on out travels, we occasionally come across great pieces of art for sale.
Not surprisingly given our location, well-regarded Northern artists are of particular interest – the way in which they capture both the rural and urban landscapes.
We were offered this fantastic painting recently and snapped it up.
It’s entitled ‘Skidding, icy sunset, Crescent, Salford’ and is the work of David Wilde (1913 – 1974). This particular piece dates from the mid to late 1960s.
Perhaps somewhat overlooked until a recent resurgence in interest, his work was actually exhibited alongside the likes of Picasso & Dali in his lifetime.
The painting has so much vibrancy – a real explosion of movement and colour.
Confident brush strokes capture the sweeping crescent-shaped road and skidding vehicles…
…the bold city skyline provides a dramatic backdrop to the icy chaos below.
It’s the kind of purchase that we’re very happy to live with until it finds the right buyer.