Grahame Sydney

Finishing Post, Vincent

1976
egg tempera and gesso on sized muslin on board
380mm x 445mm

signed Grahame C Sydney and dated 1976 in brushpoint in lower right corner; signed Grahame C Sydney, inscribed “Finishing Post, Vincentâā and Egg Tempera on sized, muslin, gesso chipboard and dated December 1976, Mt Pisa Cottage in ink verso

Provenance

Acquired by the previous owner directly from the artist, 1976.
Purchased by the current owner privately, 2006.

Exhibitions

Grahame Sydney: Recent Works, Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch, 13 September–13 October, 1978.<ahref=”http://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/media/uploads/2010_08/GrahameSydneyRecentWork.pdf” target=”_blank”>Grahame Sydney: Recent Works, Dowse Art Gallery, Lower Hutt, 26 October – 26 November, 1978.

Essay

Finishing Post, Vincent is a product of the most important period of Grahame Sydney’s career. Although Sydney had a strong interest in painting and drawing from child...

Read full text
Estimate $45,000 - $55,000
Achieved $54,050

Grahame Sydney

Finishing Post, Vincent

1976

egg tempera and gesso on sized muslin on board

signed Grahame C Sydney and dated 1976 in brushpoint in lower right corner; signed Grahame C Sydney, inscribed “Finishing Post, Vincentâā and Egg Tempera on sized, muslin, gesso chipboard and dated December 1976, Mt Pisa Cottage in ink verso

380mm x 445mm

Auction N˚1

Estimate $45,000 - $55,000

Achieved $54,050

Finishing Post, Vincent

by Charles Ninow

Finishing Post, Vincent is a product of the most important period of Grahame Sydney’s career. Although Sydney had a strong interest in painting and drawing from childhood, in Holyoake-era New Zealand pursuing art making as a career was not just unconventional but almost unheard of, with the exception of artistically conservative figures like Peter McIntyre and Marcus King. As a result, Sydney’s professional life began with secondary school teaching, a vocation that allowed him the opportunity to work in Europe and the United Kingdom as a young man. Sydney’s career as a teacher, however, was very short-lived. After only a year abroad, he packed his bags and returned home to live with his parents in 1974 so that he could pursue painting as a full-time career. In the five years following this monumental decision, Sydney would go on to produce some of the most profound works of his lifetime.

In 1975, Sydney held his first major solo exhibition at Auckland’s Peter Webb galleries and, in 1976, the year in which Finishing Post, Vincent was produced, he held his second at the same gallery. Unlike the majority of the other landscape paintings by Sydney which have have been made available to the market in recent years, Finishing Post, Vincent was painted while Sydney lived in the humble surrounds of a cottage on Mt. Pisa – a far cry from the house that, as a successful artist, he would later build in Central Otago. Leaving Mt. Pisa marked the end of an era in Sydney’s career. The works made while Sydney lived at Mt Pisa were unique in that they were meticulously executed in the medium of egg tempera, which, while its use dates back to the 1stCentury AD, is almost unheard of in the context of New Zealand art. As it is essentially egg white mixed with raw pigment, Sydney was required to mix all of his paints by hand. In the years after leaving Mt. Pisa, Sydney began to work with oil paint, which allowed him to work in a faster, more fluid manner and easily cover large areas of the picture plane. However, his earlier egg tempera paintings were crafted from layer upon layer of a minute ‘cross-hatched’ technique, which produced expertly detailed images.