On Loan

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Tonality

SKU: 2073
Signed, titled and dated on reverse. Oil on canvas.
Presentation:
framed

Size:
Height – 61cm x Width – 50.8cm

DESCRIPTION

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THE ARTIST

John Cecil Stephenson
John Cecil
Stephenson
1889 - 1965

Painter, born in Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham. He studied at Darlington Technical College, 1906-08, at the Leeds School of Art, 1908-14, the RCA, 1914-18, and Slade, 1918. Between 1915 and 1918 he did war work, making tools. In 1919 he took on Sickert’s studio, 6 Mall Studios, Hampstead, where he was later joined by Herbert Read, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. From 1922 until 1955 he was Head of Art Teaching in the Architectural Department, Northern Polytechnic, Holloway Road. In 1932 he began making his first abstract works, exhibiting during the next decade in many abstract and constructive shows in England, France and the USA. In 1934 he exhibited with the 7&5 Society, along with the likes of Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Ivon Hitchens, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and John Piper. During World War II he returned partly to figurative work, making paintings of the Blitz. From the 1950s he returned to large abstract paintings, realising many of the abstract compositions he had sketched out on a small scale in the previous decade, when materials had been in short supply. In 1951 he made a 10 x 30 ft. fluorescent paint mural for the Festival of Britain, and began working with ply glass for murals. In 1958 he suffered three strokes, which left him unable to move or talk. Partly for this reason he is today less well-known than many of his contemporaries, but he was one of the key figures in the development of abstract art in Britain. He is represented in the collection of the Tate and internationally.

Selected Literature


Cecil Stephenson 1889-1965, Fischer Fine Art, London, 1976.


Simon Guthrie, The Life and Art of John Cecil Stephenson: A Victorian Painter’s Journey to Abstract Expressionism, Cartmel Press Associates, 1997.

When in the fifties, I became engaged to Simon (David) Guthrie, he took me to meet his mother, Kathleen Guthrie, and his stepfather, Cecil Stephenson. They lived in a studio; to me, a novel idea. 6, Mall Studios, in Belsize Park, had been Cecil’s habitat for some thirty years. The main studio was a large room with a big north light running from the floor up into the roof. In one corner were Cecil’s easel and paints; in another were his machine tools and lathes and in a third was his piano. The fourth corner contained a sofa and some bookcases, where Kathleen could sit and read, or listen to Cecil playing his favourite Brahms or Chopin. Kathleen was Cecil’s second wife. She was herself a professional artist; a Sladey-lady and like Cecil, a founder member of the Hampstead Artists’ Council. There wasn’t room for her to paint in the studio, so Cecil had built her a painting shed in the garden. The garden also had a small pond with a large population of newts and some very decorative Koi carp, and a monorail for Cecil’s hand-built model steam locomotive. Cecil was a warm-hearted man of many talents, but modest and self-effacing, and meticulous in all his many undertakings. His output of paintings was small, due to the pressures of earning a living by teaching, and his inability to refuse requests for his engineering skills, whether it was to make a new part for a friend’s old Lagonda, dash off a metal staircase or a new set of wrought-iron gates. Perhaps he was overshadowed by his brilliant friend and erstwhile neighbour, Ben Nicholson. Other neighbours included Barbara Hepworth and John Skeaping, the art critic and writer Sir Herbert Read, and later, Henry Moore and Bernard Meadows. When Cecil died, he left quite a body of works which the family have cherished and enjoyed for the last forty years. These include most of the pictures in this exhibition. Simon retired from academic life in 1990 and he devoted himself to trying to promote his stepfather’s reputation. First he wrote a biography, based largely on Cecil’s abbreviated but carefully kept diaries. He then devoted much time and energy to trying to persuade a gallery to mount a proper retrospective of Cecil’s work, particularly the early abstracts. Remembering Cecil’s northern roots, he tried hard to interest various galleries in the north of England in such an exhibition. Sadly his ambition was never achieved. So his family were very willing to co-operate with the suggestion of The Fine Art Society to mount this show, in the hope that many more people could derive pleasure and satisfaction from these fine paintings.

– Marjorie Guthrie

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

SKU: 11412

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Female nude, circa 1945-1950

£750.00

SKU: 11413

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Male Nude, circa 1945-1950

£349.97

SKU: 11421

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Female nude, circa 1945-1950

£1,800.00

SKU: 11422

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Female nude, circa 1945-1950

£1,200.00

SKU: 11423

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Vitroslab Designs, late 1930’s

£2,500.00

SKU: 11409

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Classical arch-top composition, circa 1930

£875.00

SKU: 11410

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Female nude, circa 1945-1950

£450.00

SKU: 11411

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Countryside – ( Study after Sel Cotman), circa 1930

£785.00

SKU: 11405

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Scottish mountain scene, 1930

£1,850.00

SKU: 11406

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

View over Quarry Park and the River Severn, Shrewsbury, circa 1930

£975.00

SKU: 11407

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Panoramic landscape

£840.00

On Loan
SKU: 11034

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Divertimento II
On Loan
SKU: 10573

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Clarabella, 1950
SKU: 10559

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstraction, 1934

£65,000.00

SKU: 9412

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Sketchbook ‘Simple Elements’, 1957

£1,950.00

SKU: 6570

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in blue, brown, orange and grey

£775.00

SKU: 6571

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in red, yellow, white and blue

£600.00

SKU: 6489

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in dark blue, red, brown green and yellow, 1950’s

£1,600.00

SKU: 6488

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in brown, blue, purple and green

£775.00

SKU: 5760

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Sketch for Triangle Series, 1938/39

£2,160.00

SKU: 5202

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract study in yellow, light and dark brown

£1,100.00

SKU: 4569

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Kneeling nude, c.1940

£3,700.00

SKU: 3886

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Blue, Red and Yellow triangles, circa 1938

£4,500.00

SKU: 3606

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Study for Fugue, 1953

£3,900.00

SKU: 3417

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Rondo. (Subtitled “a nous la liberte”)` 1953

£7,750.00

SKU: 2855

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Blue and yellow Figure circa 1946

£2,950.00

SKU: 2856

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Approved Design for Festival of Women’s House

£960.00

On Loan
SKU: 2609

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

The End of a Doodlebug, Hampstead Heath, 1945
SKU: 2074

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Accent, 1960
On Loan
SKU: 2076

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Uprights 1936/37
SKU: 2030

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in blue, yellow and brown, mid 1940’s

£1,900.00

SKU: 2031

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in blue, brown and light green

£1,000.00

SKU: 2032

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in yellow, orange and green. circa 1942

£975.00

SKU: 2033

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in dark and light blue and brown

£775.00

SKU: 2023

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Untitled abstract study, circa 1944

£900.00

SKU: 2028

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in brown and blue, c. 1955

£875.00

SKU: 2018

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Study in mauve, blue and black, circa 1944

£775.00

SKU: 2022

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in dark and light blue, green and brown

£1,000.00

SKU: 2007

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract study in maroon, blue and yellow

£850.00

SKU: 2013

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abstract in brown, yellow and blue, early 1940’s

£850.00

SKU: 1774

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Seated Female nude, rear view, 1944

£2,500.00

On Loan
SKU: 880

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Tita, circa 1960
On Loan
SKU: 872

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Monody, circa 1959
SKU: 874

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Three Graces, 1945
SKU: 875

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Perseus and Andromeda, 1945
SKU: 876

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Preliminary Study for Plyglass Mural Queen Mary’s College

£4,800.00

SKU: 868

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Abnegation, 1960
SKU: 869

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Carpriccioso, 1960

£9,600.00

SKU: 423

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Triple Life Study, three quarter rear view

£795.00

SKU: 428

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Seated Male Nude

£1,400.00

SKU: 429

John Cecil Stephenson (1889 - 1965)

Life Class, early 1930’s

£1,375.00