As well as a handful of works by the Scottish artist herself, the dedicated sale will offer a selection of paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery by other artists, primarily St Ives School painters.
The works are being sold on behalf of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust with the funds raised going to support artists and art education which were central to Barns- Graham’s wishes. The auction will take place at the Mall Galleries in London on October 28 and features 72 lots in all.
Among the paintings by Barns-Graham herself is Red and violet, a 3ft x 2ft 4in (91cm x 71cm) oil on canvas from 1961, one of her richly coloured geometric forms which she began to produce after moving away from landscapes in the 1950s. It is described in the catalogue as “one of the earliest examples of her new, hard-edged style” and is estimated at £10,000-15,000.
With the collection also charting Barns-Graham’s friendships and professional relationships with other artists and makers, the sale will also feature works by artists such as Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger and Rose Hilton, Bernard and Janet Leach, Denis Mitchell, Ben and Kate Nicholson, Alfred Wallis and Bryan Wynter.
Hepworth high expectation
The highest expectations will be on a drawing by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) which will be offered with a £100,000-150,000 estimate. In Barns-Graham’s notes about her collection she states she owns one drawing by Hepworth given to her as a wedding present.
Figure and mirror, a 17¾ x 13½in (45 x 35cm) pencil sketch from 1948 dates from the year before Barns-Graham married the art critic, curator and writer David Lewis. The two women had developed a friendship based partly on their shared experience of being woman artists in a small Cornish enclave dominated by male artists.
Most recently the drawing was displayed at the St Ives: Movements in Art and Life exhibition that ran at Royal West of England Academy, Bristol in 2020.