10th January 2017

Gwyneth Johnstone (1915-2010)
Gwyneth Johnstone (1915-2010), A Party, Oil on canvas Sold for £1,300


The popularity of post-war and contemporary British Art is growing daily and accounts for possibly as much as 40% of the British art market. So it is no surprise that auctions rooms the length of the country find there is an enormous following for this genre. Neither is it likely to diminish, as interest is global and emerging markets such as China are fully engaged.


Gwyneth Johnstone (1915-2010),  whilst not in the same monetary sphere as Sir Stanley Spencer, is an important figure and can still be found at auction for affordable sums. She trained at the Slade School of Art where she met Mary Feddon amongst and had a long and successful career, continuing to paint and exhibit until shortly before her death in 2010.


Born in 1915, she was the daughter of the esteemed painter Augustus John. Her work has a dreamlike quality, similar to Sir Stanley Spencer and one can see that she was impressed by artists such as Braque and Picasso. This painting is titled 'A Party' and clearly demonstrates her love of figurative subjects and is definitely not an English party but a continental one, possibly Spanish. It is quite an eclectic mix of people, even a nun (top right) is present. The treatment of oil paint is worth mentioning, as it is painted thickly with much reworking.


The condition of this work, which was offered in our Dumfries salerooms, was not good, with areas of paint flaking off, but it did not deter collectors bidding this to a hammer price of £1300. Not bad for a painting that was saved from the skip!