New ‘Oleander’ image / sketch for the ‘Equestrian Portrait of Elizabeth Williamson’ sold / Griselda Pollock on R4.

AN IMPROVED IMAGE for Annie’s Oleander has been uploaded, scanned directly from the 2002 Sotheby’s auction catalogue.

Known only from two auction records in 1999 and 2002. A particulary fine work which hints at how many other otherwise unknown works must be ‘out there.’ This is dated 1883, completed several years before her ‘symbolist’ period blossomed, but one can perhaps see beginnings here.

It’s tempting to try to align Annie with a particular movement, such a Realism, Pre-Raphaelitism and even Impressionism, but it never quite works. There are definate influences, but she retains her classically-based training and love of the human figure throughout her career – carefully moulded forms, gradation of tones, no broad monochrome areas.

THE SKETCH FOR the Equestrian Portrait of Elizabeth Williamson (also known as Elizabeth Williamson at Wemmergill) sold today at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers, Aylesham, Norfolk.

GRISELDA POLLOCK gave an interesting talk on Front Row (Radio 4 – still available online) re-broadcast this week, on how female artists have been consistently written out of art history from the beginning of the 20th century. I happened to be watching an online auction at the time of the broadcast, and as is usally the case, out of over two-hundred lots, only a handful were by women artists.

Annie helped partially dislodge the glass ceiling with her acceptance into the Royal Academy in 1922, but was openly critical of the establishment, knowing that her recognition was long overdue, and there is a strong hint of resentment in her few recorded public comments on the subject. The glass ceiling was evidently quickly replaced, as it was another fourteen years before Laura Knight became the second woman to be admitted. At the same time, I don’t really think such matters were Annie’s primary interest. I feel she truly loved the act of creation, outside of any issues about the promotion of ‘female’ art just for the sake of it.

I don’t consider a person’s sex, ethnicity or anything else when liking a picture – Annie, Marie Laurencin, Bridget Riley and Mable Alvarez are personal favourites, all for different reasons, along with Lautrec, Whistler, and various others.

Jonathan Russell

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