This July’s Scottish Contemporary Art Auction features a spectacular piece of art history—an original drawing from the Glaswegian artist Hannah Frank. McTear’s is delighted to present ‘Girl at Window, 1952’, the original and last known pen and ink drawing by the artist. Considered to be Glasgow’s last living link to the Art Nouveau period upon her death in 2008, Hannah Frank was known for her signature lithographs with the style and iconography of the Art Nouveau period, featuring shocking white lines against stark black backgrounds, depicting women, snippets of poetry and fairy tales, and ethereal scenes. The earliest known black and white drawing from the artist is dated 1925, and the latest is 1952, the year when she stopped drawing and moved on to sculpture.
Frank’s style is distinct and recognisable. Her forms and lines are elongated, oozing with intricate simplicity to convey emotion and messages throughout her work. Although all of her artworks are powerful and evocative, there is a different type of power that comes from the original drawing. It is within the original drawing that viewers can see the careful planning and sketching that went into the drawing, with remnants of pencil grid marks to trace out the placement of her name and other erased pencil marks, as well as her incredible attention to detail. The air of perfection surrounding her stark black and white lithographs is charmingly dismantled in viewing the original, with plenty of evidence of the 1952 equivalent of Tipp-ex (patented in 1958) masking errors and mistakes throughout to create the final product.
In recent years there has been a dramatic resurgence in interest and appreciation for her artwork, and signed lithographs by Frank are highly sought after. The pencil signed lithographs are relatively rare and for some unknown reason she only ever "editioned" (numbered) one specific lithograph in the conventional manner. The appearance of originals by Frank are even more rare at auction. As of the 2004 publication of the book ‘Hannah Frank : A Glasgow Artist, Drawings & Sculptures’, there were 86 total known drawings by the artist. A number of these drawings had been reproduced as lithographs in the artist’s lifetime, with ‘Girl at Window’ being one of them. Of those 86 artworks, three are in university collections and only twenty-four were known to be in private collections at the publication date of the aforementioned book.
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