Sir Terry Frost (British,1915-2003) : Thrust
Signed & dated ‘Frost 58’ in pencil, lower right
Titled on reverse
Ink and wash on paper
Provenance: Austin Desmond Fine Art, label verso . The Mayor Gallery, label verso
Exhibition history: Austin Desmond ‘Terry Frost Works on Paper, 1947 – 1972’
Very few artists are successful in monotone as it is brutally visual so any weaknesses in the composition and/or the technique used are laid bare. This is a rare work and the monotone is totally appropriate for the title, ie simple, focused energy in the motion, and also focuses the viewers attention on the movement in the work which you can feel.
Measures: Sheet height 24 cm, 9 ½ in., length 34.5 cm, 13 ½ in.,
In a moulded, ebonized frame.
Frame height 46.5 cm, 18 ¼ in, length 56.5 cm, 22 ¼ in,
In 1958 Frost was working from Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, having returned with his family from his teaching post in Leeds the previous year. Contemporary St Ives was again a hotbed of artistic activity, with Roger Hilton, Barbara Hepworth, Bernard Leach, Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron and Brian Wynter all working in the town or nearby.
Terry Frost’s studio in St Ives, circa 1960.
Frost was already an established figure, with two solo shows at the Leicester Galleries to his name and a third that year. In the same year he moved to Waddington Galleries, where he would have exhibitions regularly until 1978. The Tate purchased a first picture in 1959, and Frost’s career was also poised to go international with his first American solo show, in 1960, at the Bertha Schaeffer Gallery in New York – a critical success which was attended by American heavyweights de Kooning, Rothko, Kline, Newman, and Motherwell. Frost characterised these years as ‘a period of total confidence any mark I made seemed to be fine.’
This work Thrust is strongly situated in the development of themes from Frost’s Leeds years of 1954 to 1957 and before, to those of his work of the Sixties; and demonstrates motifs present in work from across his career.
In the preceding years in Leeds he made a series of paintings which represented a movement through a landscape in abstract, for example Winter 1956, Yorkshire (Tate Collection). The fascination with motion and force and how these could be rendered in composition was first explored earlier in the decade, and extended through to later work such as the Laced, and Suspended Forms series. Here this enquiry is clearly present, both in the title Thrust and in the strong sense of propulsion of the two emphasised v or u forms towards the centre of the image.
In all of Frost’s work there exists a tension between abstraction and figuration – he never relinquishes to the complete abstraction advanced by Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo and others. From the late fifties into the sixties Frost had a particular approach to the issue: he gave his apparently abstract forms coded meanings. The clearest example of this is the V-shaped wedge, signifying the female nude, of which Frost himself explains firstly the compositional properties:
I used wedges a lot to tighten up form… If you’ve got tightness on a flat surface, the structure is a certainty, it can’t fall apart.
He goes on to explain the motif’s significance to a painting’s content:
The chevrons and wedges are all part of the figure. The chevrons become nipples often, and then the penetration is a chevron as well.
In paintings of the following years, from Black Wedge and White Nude of 1959, to Three Graces and Force 8 of 1960 the wedges are strongly defined. Here in Thrust the motif in development is less sharp, but nonetheless present and active and fundamental to the image; pressing in from two sides and providing a strong contraction of focus.
Frost mentions the contemporary domination of Henry Moore and ‘his lying-down things’ as contributing to his desire to represent the reclining female form. Equally:
There was always that side of me. I have to face the fact that I was a terrific flirt. I think Hilton and I were having arguments about the figure at that time, and Lanyon had done a few figure paintings, so there was a bit of a battle on. I was trying to stick to abstraction, but occasionally my romantic side, my love-making side, would take over.
Terry Frost, Grey Entry, 1962 (Private Collection)
Chevrons continue to appear into Frost’s late work, and the more rounded but still directional C- and D-forms are also a dominant motif.
Terry Frost, Red and Black on Blue, 1968 (Tate Collection)
For an artist often associated with colour the subtlety with which he manipulates a work in black and grey tones is masterly. Ronnie Duncan, friend of Frost from the Leeds years, and collector, writes:
Frost uses black with an uncanny authority and with the ability to evoke more colour from it than any other artist of our time, including Kline and Motherwell. (No wonder his favourite quotation from Rochester is “All colours are contained in black”).
Paintings in Museums and Public Art Galleries : UK
• Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
• Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
• Arts Council of Great Britain, London
• Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, UK
• British Council, London
• Bolton Museum & Art Gallery
• Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, UK
• City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol
• City Museum & Art Gallery, Plymouth
• Contemporary Art Society, London
• Cornwall County Education Committee
• Exeter University
• Falmouth Art Gallery, England
• Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
• Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
• Glasgow University
• Gulbenkian Foundation, London
• Government Art Collection, London
• Huddersfield Art Gallery
• Leeds City Art Gallery
• Leicestershire County Education Committee
• Manchester City Art Gallery, England
• National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
• National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
• Northampton Museums & Art Gallery
• National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
• Norwich Museums, England
• Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University, England
• Oldham Art Gallery
• Rutherston Collection, Manchester City Art Gallery
• Royal Academy of Arts Collection, London, UK
• Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
• Southampton City Art Gallery
• Sunderland Museum & Art Gallery
• Swindon Museum & Art Gallery
• Tate Gallery, London
• Tyne & Wear Museums Database, England
• Ulster Museum, Belfast
• Vancouver Art Gallery
• Victoria & Albert Museum, London
• Wakefield Art Galleries & Museums
• Warwick Art Gallery & Museum, Leamington Spa
• Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Paintings in Museums and Public Art Galleries : Worldwide:
• Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
• Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
• Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma
• Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
• Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
• Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
• Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand
• Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel
• National Museum of Canada, Ottawa
• The European Commission Conference Centre, Brussels
Recent Solo Exhibitions
• 2001, Mead Gallery, University of Warwick
• 2000, Royal Academy of Arts, Sackler Galleries Beaux Arts, London
• 1997, Belgrave Gallery, London
• 1995, Green on Red Gallery, Dublin McGeary Gallery, Brussels
• 1994, Mayor Gallery, London
• 1992, Adelson Gallery, New York
• 1944, Leamington Spa Library, Leamington
• 1952, Leicester Galleries (also 1956, 1958), Leicester
• 1960, Bertha Schaeffer Gallery, New York
• 1961, Waddington Galleries (also 1963, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1978), London
• 1964, Galerie Charles Lienhard, Zürich; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
• 1969, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford
• 1970, Plymouth City Art Gallery (also 1986), Plymouth
• 1971, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
• 1976, Arts Council and South West Arts Retrospective Tour Serpentine Gallery, London
• 1980, New Art Centre, Wiltshire
• 1982, Gloria Gallery, Nicosia
• 1986, University of Reading and Newlyn Art Gallery, and tour to Plymouth
• 1989, Mayor Gallery, London; Belgrave Gallery, London
• 1993, Austin Desmond Fine Art, London; Tate Gallery St Ives, St Ives
• 1994, Adelson Gallery New York
• 1995, McGeary Gallery, Brussels; Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn
• 1997, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives
• 1998, British Council, New York
• 1999, Arts Council Spotlight, touring exhibition
• 2000, Terry Frost: Six Decades, Royal Academy, London; Beaux Arts, London
• 2001, Mead Gallery, Warwick University Galleria Multigraphic, Venice; Maison des Arts, Colle sur Loup, France
• 2002, Belgrave Gallery, London, Strand Gallery, Aldeburgh Badcocks Gallery, Newlyn
• Russell Cotes Museum, Bournemouth
• 2003, Beaux Arts, London
• 2007, Beaux Arts, London
• 2008, Beaux Arts, London; The Paintings of Sir Terry Frost, Reading Museum, Reading
• 2009, Five Decades of Terry Frost (Prints), Stoneman Graphics Gallery, Penzance; Works on Paper from the Artist’s Studio, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives
• 2010, Terry Frost: A Lover of Life, Beaux Arts, London
• Alloway, Lawrence ed. Nine Abstract Artists: their Works and Theory, London, 1954
• Alloway, Lawrence, in introductions to catalogue of exhibition Statements, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Jan-Feb, 1957
• Alloway, Lawrence, in introduction to catalogue of exhibition Dimensions, British Abstract Art, O’Hana Gallery, London, 1957
• ‘Anon, Remarkable Pictures of Life in Prison Camp’, Coventry, Evening Telegraph, June 7, 1944.
• Anon, Time, August 18, 1961, p.42
• Bell, Q., ‘Round the London Galleries’, Listener, October 16, 1954
• Britsh Painting and Sculpture 1960-70, exhibition Catalogue, Tate Gallery London, and National Gallery Washington
• Brown, D. Introduction to exhibition catalogue Terry Frost Paintings, Drawings and Collages 1976/77, Arts Council of Great Britain.
• Burr, J., ‘Frost in February’, Apollo, February 1977
• Cross, T., Painting the Warmth of the Sun, St. Ives Artists 1939-1975, Alison Hodge/Lutterworth Press, 1984
• Daniel-McElroy, Susan & Gooding, Mel Terry Frost – Black, White and Red Tate St. Ives exhibition catalogue 2003
• Darracott, Joseph, ‘Terry Frost’, Isis, January 30, 1957
• Davies, P., ‘Review of mixed exhibition’ (Wills Lane Gallery, St. Ives), Arts Review, September 1980
• Davies, P., ‘Some notes on the St. Ives School’, Art Monthly, July-August, 1981
• Dobson, Scott, ‘A Dynamic Painter comes back to the North’, Evening Chronicle, Newcastle, November, 1964
• Elderfield, John, Studio International, January 1972
• Finn, Andrea, Terry Frost, Southern Arts Diary and Review, April 1972
• Frost, T., ‘What I think today’, Penwith Society Broadsheet 4, St. Ives, 1953
• Frost, T., Statment in Lawrence Alloway ed., Nine Abstract Artists: Their Work and Theory, London, 1954
• Frost, T., Statement in catalogue of exhibition Statements, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Jan-Feb, 1957
• Frost, T., Statement ‘Analysis from Nature’ in catalogue of exhibition The Developing Process, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1959
• Frost, T., Statement in catalogue of An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Terry Frost, Lincolnshire Associates Arts Centre, May-June 1967
• Gooding, Mel Terry Frost – Act And Image Belgrave Gallery Publication 2000
• Gooding, Mel Terry Frost Beaux Arts catalogue 2000
• Gooding, Mel ‘Terry Frost – Six Decades’ Royal Academy of Arts exhibition catalogue 2000
• Gordon Alistair, Connoisseur, August 1969
• Heron, Patrick, ‘Space in Painting and Architecture’, Architects’ Year Book 5, London, 1953
• Heron, Patrick, ‘Space in Colour: Notes on Nine British Painters’, Arts Digest, New York, March 15, 1955
• Heron, Patrick, ‘London…Alan Davie and Terry Frost, Bryan Wynter’, Arts New York, October 1957
• Heron, Patrick, ‘London…Terry Frost’s Seductive Calligraphies’, Arts, New York, October 1958
• Hodge, Alison Warm Frost Alison Hodge Publication 2003
• Hodin, J.P., ‘Terry Frost’, Quadrum, May 1956
• James, Philip, Introduction to catalogue of Terry Frost Retrospective exhibition, Laing Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1964, and subsequent tour
• Kemp, Dominic, ‘Terry Frost Prints: A Catalgoue Raisonne’, 2010, Lund Humphries, Surrey
• Lewis, A., ‘British Avant Garde Painting 1945-1956: Part 1’, Artscribe, March 1982
• Lewis, David, in introduction to exhibition catalogue Terry Frost: Recent Paintings May 21- July 4 1982, London Regional Art Gallery, Canada
• Lewis, David, introduction to catalogue of St. Ives 1939-64, Tate Gallery, London.
• Lewis, David, ‘Terry Frost’ Scholar Press 1994
• Lynton, Norbert, ‘Romantics’, New Statesman, November 22, 1963.
• McGregan, C., Rufford Craft Centre Exhibition, Arts Review, March, 1982.
• Norrie, J., ‘Terry Frost’, Andreas Charalambides, Arts Review, September 1983.
• Read, Herbert, Introduction to catalogue of exhibition Critics’ Choice, Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd., London, 1956.
• Rothon, Tony, Studio International, December 1974.
• Russell, John, Sunday Times, June 4, 1961.
• Spalding, F., ‘Terry Frost’ (New Arts Centre, London), Arts Review, March 1980
• Stephens, Chris Terry Frost Tate Publishing 2000
• Turnbull, C., (RWA Exhibition review), February 1977.
• Vaizey, M., ‘Terry Frost: Works on Paper’, Arts Review, January 1978
• Wolfram, E., Clough, ‘Frost Heath’, Arts Review, May 1976.
Provenance: Austin Desmond Fine Art, label on reverse
The Mayor Gallery, label on reverse
Exhibitions: Austin Desmond, ‘ Terry Frost Works on Paper 25 years 1947 – 1972 ‘"
This post was written by joecollinson