Lot 120


signed with initials 'G P' (upper left)
oil on canvas
61 x 81cm

Sale, Gorringes, 11th March 1999, part lot 2334 (as 'Attributed to' Glyn Philpot), where acquired by Seymour Stein;
The Seymour Stein Collection

London, The Leicester Galleries, 'Exhibition of Recent Paintings and Sculptures by Glyn Philpot R.A', June 1932, (number unknown)

Record of works by Glyn Philpot , p.38, Tate Archive;
Simon Martin, Glyn Philpot: Flesh and Spirit, 2022, fig.171, p.159.

Estimate: £7,000 - £10,000
Hammer price: £5,500
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

Niobe is something of a rediscovery and forms part of a body of work by Philpot, including Leda and The Swan (private collection), Oedipus and the Sphinx (National Gallery of Victoria) and Echo and Narcissus (private collection), painted in the early 1930s which address themes of classical mythology in a modern style.  The work was executed in Philpot's studio at 216 Boulevard Raspail in Montparnasse, an image of which is included in the National Gallery Exhibition catalogue, Glyn Philpot, 1884-1937, Edwardian Aesthete to Thirties Modernist, 1984 (see images).  It was then exhibited at The Leicester Galleries in 1932 (see images); its whereabouts are then unknown before being acquired at auction by the late Seymour Stein in 1999.

Niobe was a daughter of King Tantalus of Sipylus and married Amphion, son of Zeus and Antiope.  In Homer's Iliad Niobe gives birth to six sons and six daughters and boasts about her fecundity to the titan Leto, who only had two offspring, Apollo and Artemis.  To punish her pride these twin deities slay all her children with arrows.  Niobe then begs the gods to end her grief and pain to which Zeus acquiesces by turning her to stone although the rock still produces tears.

We are extremely grateful to Simon Martin, Director, Pallant House Gallery for his assistance in cataloguing the present work.

Condition Report

Original canvas.  There are two minor surface abrasions around Niobe's head; some light surface dirt otherwise good original condition; no sign of retouching under ultraviolet light.

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