Rediscovered Canova masterpiece once situated outside Boty’s Kensington flat to be auctioned by Christie’s

Antonio Canova (1757-1822), Maddalena Giacente (Recumbent Magdalene), 1819-22. © Christie’s Images Ltd 2022

Antonio Canova’s Maddalena Giacente (Recumbent Magdalene), regarded as his lost masterpiece and completed shortly before his death, will be a star lot in the Old Masters Evening Sale on 7 July 2022 at Christie’s in London

At one stage the sculpture was located outside the front of the house in Addison Road owned by antique dealer Jon Manasseh which Boty shared with Celia Birtwell. Derek Boshier also rented a room as a studio there whilst Peter Blake stored his paintings. The sculpture even makes a brief appearance in Ken Russell’s 1962 documentary Pop Goes the Easel with an aerial shot of Blake seated on it whilst he, Boshier and Peter Phillips wait for Boty to respond to their ringing the bell to be let in.

Boty on the steps outside Addison Road [unknown photographer]

From the Christie’s website:

Having accidentally become an art world ‘sleeping beauty’ over the last 100 years – her authorship gradually forgotten and whereabouts unknown – this outstanding sculpture of Mary Magdalene in a state of ecstasy was commissioned by the Prime Minister of the day, Lord Liverpool (1812-1827). Recumbent Magdalene will be a star lot during Christie’s Summer edition of Classic Week in London.

Dr. Mario Guderzo, leading Canova scholar, former Director of the Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova and Museo Biblioteca Archivio di Bassano del Grappa commented: “It is a miracle that Antonio Canova’s exceptional, long lost masterpiece the Recumbent Magdalene has been found, 200 years after its completion. This work has been searched for by scholars for decades, so the discovery is of fundamental importance for the history of collecting and the history of art. It testifies to the intensive thought process of the work of the Italian sculptor who was a fundamental witness of his time: faithful to Pope Pius VII, sought after by Napoleon, beloved by the English sovereign George IV, esteemed by the world of European collecting and of critical importance for the restitution of works of art seized under Napoleon. The re-discovery of the Recumbent Magdalene brings to a conclusion a very particular story worthy of a novel, of a marble of significant historical value and great aesthetic beauty produced by Canova in the final years of his artistic activity.”

Details of work
Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757–1822 Venice)
Maddalena Giacente (Recumbent Magdalene), Marble, 1819–1822
75 x 176 x 84.5 cm (291⁄2 x 691⁄4 x 331⁄4 in.)
Estimate: GBP 5,000,000–8,000,000

Further information on the work and sale, including a short film with Christie’s European Sculpture specialist Donald Johnston and art critic Alastair Sooke on its remarkable rediscovery, is available here: [link]

Boty work sells for new record price in auction at Sotheby’s

WITH LOVE TO JEAN-PAUL BELMONDO [detail], oil on canvas, 1962

Yesterday evening in Sotheby’s British Art: The Jubilee Auction Pauline Boty’s 1962 painting With Love to Jean-Paul Belmondo sold for GBP 1,159,500 [GBP 950,000 plus Buyer’s Premium; Estimate GBP 500,000 – 800,000] achieving a new record price for one of her works.

This was previously held by her 1966 painting Bum, which sold at Christie’s on 22 November 2017 for GBP 632,750 [including Buyer’s Premium] with an estimate of GBP 200,000 – 300,000.

For more on yesterday’s sale and an extensive Catalogue Note on the work by Sue Tate [scroll right to the foot of the page] please see here: [link]

“Pauline Boty, Pop Artist and Woman” event on Monday in Sotheby’s Jubilee Arts Festival

The Jubilee Arts Festival takes place from 28 May–15 June at Sotheby’s London and is described as follows: “Within the Jubilee Season, Sotheby’s will open its doors for an Arts Festival celebrating the alchemy of British creativity and stirring its spirit in the next generation. With exhibitions and events spanning the visual, performing, and literary, we will gather figures advancing and reinterpreting Britain’s treasured cultural legacy. Beyond unique opportunities to view artworks and jewellery loaned from some of the nation’s greatest private collections, we are partnering with RADA, Intelligence Squared and Fantasia Orchestra to deliver a programme of musical and dramatic performances, cultural and historical debates and talks with contemporary artists and creatives.”

On Monday 13 June at 1:00 pm in Pauline Boty, Pop Artist and Woman, Dr Sue Tate and Sotheby’s Frances Christie will discuss Boty’s life and work, including her important 1962 painting With Love to Jean Paul Belmondo which is due to be auctioned by Sotheby’s on 29th June [please see previous News item].

For further information on the festival please click here: [link]

Major work by Boty to be sold by Sotheby’s in Jubilee Auction

On 29th June “British Art: The Jubilee Auction” at Sotheby’s in London will include Pauline Boty’s 1962 painting With Love to Jean-Paul Belmondo, with an estimated sale price of 500,000 – 800,000 GBP.

WITH LOVE TO JEAN-PAUL BELMONDO, oil on canvas, 1962

Sotheby’s describe the sale as follows: “In June 2022, the world’s attention will turn to London as we pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving monarch in UK history, admired and respected globally for her 70 years of service. To mark this significant moment, we will hold a major live-streamed Evening auction dedicated to the best of British Art. The sale will incorporate artists such as Gainsborough, Constable and Millais working in the 18th and 19th centuries to icons of the 20th century such as Barbara Hepworth and L.S. Lowry, and into the 21st century with artists such as Bridget Riley and Banksy.”

With Love to Jean-Paul Belmondo will also be included in an exhibition at Sotheby’s in London from 28th May–15th June and 22nd–29th June. In the intervening time it will be on display in New York with other key works.

More information on the sale is available here: [link]

On 13th June Dr Sue Tate and Sotheby’s Frances Christie will be in conversation as part of the Jubilee Arts Festival – a programme of musical and dramatic performances, cultural and historical debates and talks with contemporary artists and creatives. Further details to follow soon here.

Details
With Love to Jean-Paul Belmondo by Pauline Boty
Oil on canvas
Signed BOTY, titled and dated 62 (on canvas overlap)
Property from a French Private Collection

Unframed: 152.5 by 122cm.; 60 by 48¼in.
Framed: 154 by 123.5cm.; 60½ by 48¾in.
Executed in 1962.

New landmark eight-part BBC series includes work by Boty

Art that Made Us is a landmark eight-part series for BBC Two co-produced by the BBC and The Open University. Through 1,500 years and eight dramatic turning points, the series presents an alternative history of the British Isles, told through art.

Leading British creatives, including Simon Armitage, Anthony Gormley, Lubaina Himid, Maxine Peake and Michael Sheen join cultural historians to explore key cultural works that define each age.

Boty is represented in the final episode of the series, Brilliant Isles which “explores how the generation of artists who recorded the shocks of global war gave way in the 1950s and 1960s to an explosion of new voices from across the British Isles, reinventing the arts and creating a richer, more diverse culture. Young artists rebelled against the old establishment, kicking against the confines of class, sex, nation and race. Actress Lesley Sharp performs passages from Shelagh Delaney’s breakthrough play A Taste of Honey which brought the ordinary lives and unheard voices of working class women to a mainstream audience, while Chila Kumari Singh Burman explores the career of pop artist Pauline Boty.” [from the BBC website]

For further information including synopses, clips, broadcasting times and dates and link to iPlayer please see the BBC Programme page here [link]

Pauline Boty signed photo by John Aston sold at RR Auction

Pauline Boty signed photo by John Aston, 1962. Image courtesty of RR Auction

Earlier this week the photo above by John Aston of Boty smoking a cigarette was sold by RR Auction based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, specialists in rare manuscripts, autographs, and historic artefacts. Signed and inscribed in fountain pen, “To George, Best wishes, Pauline Boty”. Vintage glossy 8.75″ x 5.75” photo. Price realised: $1,242 [plus Buyer’s Premium]. Estimate: $200+.

Taken in 1962, this is from a series John Aston took which included a portrait of Boty standing in front of a painting by her of Marilyn Monroe, mimicking Monroe’s pose with beads in mouth. The whereabouts of this are now unknown, although it is possible that it was overpainted to become “The Only Blonde in the World”.  

Please click here to see the version held by the National Portrait Gallery [link]

Playlist for Pauline Boty added to website

A new Spotify playlist of music relating to Boty is now available. The tracks are organised into sections representing their relevance – as titles or subjects of the works, as soundtracks to her onscreen appearances on TV and film, to her appearances on Ready Steady Go! and to the collaged wall she created in her flat in west London. 

Please click here to go to the playlist and see details behind the track selection [link]

Boty drawing of Clive Goodwin sold at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers

Earlier today a drawing by Boty of her husband Clive Goodwin sold for almost double its high estimate. The following image and details are all courtesy of Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers:

Pauline Boty. “The artist’s husband, Clive Goodwin, reclining”, c.1963. Image courtesy of Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers

Pauline Boty (1938-1966). The artist’s husband, Clive Goodwin, reclining, c.1963, pencil. 25 x 20 cm. Price realised GBP 5,500. Estimate GBP 2,000 – GBP 3,000.

Reclining with ease, Boty captures her husband Clive Goodwin in a moment of sleepy repose. The intimacy of the composition is primarily created through the simplicity of the line, which captures the figure with such confidence it speaks of familiarity. Moreover, the drawing’s cropped focus and its unusual angle of looking up Clive’s nostrils adds a playful and loving air to the piece.

Boty draws with a quick and assured line that identifies shapes within the scene, the jumper, belt, nostrils, lips and striped wallpaper in the background are all outlined. This technique of capturing form through simple line is reminiscent of the bold forms found in British Pop Art.
Boty was born in South London in 1938, she was the youngest of four children and grew up in a conservative Catholic family. In 1954, she won a scholarship to Wimbledon School of Art, which she accepted with the support of her mother (whose artistic ambitions had been thwarted by her parents).

Boty studied lithography and stained-glass making, but also painted in a distinctive style. She exhibited with the Young Contemporaries alongside Robyn Denny and Bridget Riley in both 1957 and 1959. Her developing friendships with Pop artists such as Hockney and Blake drew her further into this circle, and in 1961, she participated in a group show titled ‘Blake, Boty, Porter, Reeve’. Just two years later, she had her first solo show at the Grabowski Gallery, which was received with acclaim. After a brief stint in acting and on radio, Boty returned to painting. Her work became increasingly political with anti-Vietnam War and anti-patriarchy themes emerging.
After a whirlwind romance, she married Clive Goodwin in 1963, which is the same year this drawing was undertaken. Boty became pregnant with their first child in 1965, but early into the pregnancy, doctors discovered a cancerous tumour. Knowing that treatment would damage the foetus, Boty chose not to pursue this and she died aged just twenty-eight, only five months after the birth of her daughter.

In 2013, Boty received her first retrospective at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery; later travelled to Pallant House Gallery.

Provenance
Estate of Pauline Boty;
estate of Clive Goodwin;
Nicholas Grindley

PAULINE BOTY (1938-1966)
The artist’s husband, Clive Goodwin, reclining
Pencil on paper
25 x 20cm
Executed circa 1963

New film about Nell Dunn and Pauline Boty nears completion

Hannah Morrish and Helena Wilson during the filming of “Nell and Pauline”

Nell and Pauline is a short film currently in post-production based on the conversation between Nell Dunn and Pauline Boty in 1963 documented in Dunn’s book Talking to Women

The film is directed by Zoé Ford Burnett, with Helena Wilson playing Nell and Hannah Morrish playing Pauline. The three have all worked together in different capacities over the years, both at the National Theatre and RSC, but it was whilst in lockdown that they found themselves recommending the Pauline Boty conversation from Talking to Women to each other and talking about how moved they’d all been by it: “It was a time of feeling scared and creatively stunted, but reading that conversation reinvigorated us and reminded us of the need to create even in difficult times” explained Hannah.

Shot over two days in the summer of 2021 on a shoestring budget, the filmmakers were given permission by Dunn to use the conversation transcript verbatim for its dialogue. Many of the team worked for free as they felt it was such an important story to tell.  

A final £2,000 is now needed to pay for editing, music composition, a premiere screening featuring a panel discussion on Dunn and Boty’s lives and work, and film festival submissions. All donations will be thanked with a special mention in the film’s credits, any publicity for the film, and at the film’s premiere screening, along with free tickets to the premiere screening.

Further information is available at the fundraising page here: [link]

Filming a scene of “Nell and Pauline” in the summer of 2021