Arthur Wardle, RI (British, 1864-1949) Indolence
Lot 69* AR
Arthur Wardle, RI
(British, 1864-1949)
Indolence
£20,000 - 30,000
US$ 27,000 - 41,000

Lot Details
Arthur Wardle, RI (British, 1864-1949)
Indolence
signed 'Arthur Wardle' (lower right)
oil on canvas
55.8 x 91.4cm (21 15/16 x 36in).

Footnotes

  • In the first two decades of the 20th century, Arthur Wardle was one of the best known living British animal painters. He portrayed an astonishing diversity of subjects with an engaging naturalism and command of different media. Unlike many of his contemporaries in the genre who restricted themselves to horse and hound, deer and domesticated beasts, Wardle painted and drew every mammal from elephant to mouse in watercolour, pastel and oil.

    Born in London in 1864, Arthur Wardle received no formal artistic training. Aged just 16, the young artist had a work displayed at the Royal Academy, a privilege granted very few artists of his age. Wardle was an avid painter, and from his first entry in 1880 until 1936 he exhibited more than one hundred paintings at the Royal Academy as well as the Society of British Artists at Suffolk Street. He was elected to the Pastel Society in 1911 and became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1922. In 1931 he held his first one man exhibition at the Fine Art Society and in 1935 the Vicar's Gallery held an exhibition of his work. During this time he also exhibited in Paris.

    Wardle's career was highly successful and his works were widely sought after. His oeuvre could be divided into two categories, domestic and exotic. The more exotic animals were transferred to canvas from sketches that the artist made at London zoo. Wardle was also one of the most famous dog painters of the time and was particularly known for his paintings of terriers.

    The present lot is the embodiment of all the elements that contributed to Wardle's fame in his lifetime. A young boy reclines on a massive tiger skin, clutching his pet terriers in order to keep them away from a puppy playing with a ball. He is obviously enjoying the comfort of the luxurious fur. The brushwork is extraordinary and the controlled palette served to help the artist create an environment of luxury and indolence. The bright red ball, in the lower left corner of the composition, draws in the viewer's eye. From there the composition is deftly handled to draw the viewer from the puppy and ball to the apex of the triangle formed by the outstretched body of the young boy. The brilliant whites, jet backs and tawny tones in between create an atmosphere of warmth which is enhanced by the expert handling of the fur of the tiger and the terriers. The resulting image is one of lassitude and comfort, opulence and lethargy.
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  1. Emma Gordon
    Specialist - 19th Century Paintings
    Bonhams
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