21st Aug, 2022 12:00

The Scottish Contemporary Art Auction

  Lot 104


oil on paper laid on linen
overall size 207cm × 157cm
Provenance: The Artist | Franklin Group, New York | Private Collection. Possibly from the Lytton Strachey Group of paintings, Circa 1985.
Note: Steven Campbell was born in Glasgow and originally worked as a maintenance engineer in a steelworks in Cambulsang before attending Glasgow School of Art and becoming one of the leading Scottish figurative painters of his generation. Campbell worked alongside the artists Ken Currie, Peter Howson and Adrian Wiszniewski, a group which later became known as the 'New Glasgow Boys'. While their artistic output was not homogenous they all shared an interest in figurative painting during the early 1980s which broke away from the conceptual and minimal trends in Modern art at the turn of the twentieth century. After graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1982 Campbell won a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Pratt Institute in the United States. Campbell worked from a studio in Brooklyn until 1986 and this period was key in establishing his status as an internationally renowned artist whilst raising awareness of Scottish contemporary art on a global scale.
"Young Camper Discovering Grotto in The Ground" is a major work representative of this period. It appeared in a solo show held at the Barbara Toll Gallery in 1983. Within days of the show, the doyen of the New York art critics, John Russell, fully endorsed the painterly qualities of a young, unknown Scottish artist in his New York Times review. From here it was purchased by significant US contemporary art collectors, Boake and Marian Sells. Campbell had further solo exhibitions across the world in locations as far-reaching as Galerie Pierre Huiber in Geneva (1986) and Marlborough Fine Art in Tokyo (1990). His work is influenced by a diverse range of literary fiction from tales by the author P.G. Wodehouse to murder mysteries, resulting in his artworks appearing to be humorous and unsettling. Campbell was also influenced by children's book illustrations accounting for his use of a rich and vibrant palette which intensified after his U.S. period. Campbell's surreal compositions cannot be read as a conventional fictional narrative and his imaginary worlds intentionally challenge the viewer with their dreamlike quality leaving his artwork open to multiple interpretations.
Note 2: The current work is so far untitled and was painted during the artist's time painting in the USA. During this period Campbell exhibited with Barbara Toll Fine Arts, New York and Asher Faure Gallery, Los Angeles. However, the current painting was purchased directly from the artist by the Franklin Group a large media corporation based in the USA.


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Sold for £18,000
Estimated at £10,000 - £15,000

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