10th Jul, 2022 12:00

The Scottish Contemporary Art Auction

  Lot 109


oil on canvas, signed
overall size 41cm x 56cm
Note: Born in Buenos Aires in 1899 to a Scottish businessman father and an American mother, Agar moved to London in 1911. After a time with Leon Underwood, she enrolled part-time at the Slade under Henry Tonks. From 1925 she travelled in Europe extensively; to Paris, Spain and Italy. Renting a villa in Portofino, Agar visited Rapallo where she met W.B. Yeats, Osbert Sitwell, Max Beerbohm and most significantly, Ezra Pound. Keen to free herself from traditional English art, Agar moved to Paris in 1928. Here, Pound introduced her to Brancusi and, at an art gallery reception, she met André Breton and Paul Eluard. She had by now begun to paint in a different, two-dimensional, strongly Cubist style and, returning to London in 1930, was persuaded by Henry Moore to show with the London Group. She had also begun to experiment with collage and, under the influence of Paul Nash and Julian Trevelyan, began to focus on natural forms and to create objects. In 1936, on Nash's suggestion, Roland Penrose and Herbert Read chose to include her in the International Surrealist Exhibition and although she had not considered herself part of the movement she was happy to be counted within its ranks - the only British woman to feature in the show. She shared the Surrealists' interest in automatic techniques and the use of unexpected materials and photographs. Agar now suddenly began to enjoy a higher profile within the international art world. A holiday in 1937 was spent in both Cornwall and France with Penrose, Lee Miller, Eluard and her idol Picasso, (with Agar and Penrose having a prolonged affair). Throughout the 1960s and into the following decades, she continued to move forward, experimenting with acrylics and constantly challenging herself. Agar was given a retrospective exhibition in London in 1971 and ten years later a show of her recent work at the New Art Centre. She died in London in 1991, at the age of 91.


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Sold for £8,000
Estimated at £2,000 - £4,000

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