William Roberts ‘Football’

c. 1930
Pencil on paper (verso Torso fragment)
h15.5 x w23cm (unframed)
h34 x w39.5cm (framed)

Provenance:
Gillian Jason Gallery, London

William Patrick Roberts RA (1895 – 1980) was a British artist. In the years before the First World War Roberts was a pioneer, among English artists, in his use of abstract images. In later years he described his approach as that of an “English Cubist”. In the First World War he served as a gunner on the Western Front, and in 1918 became an official war artist. Roberts is probably best remembered for the large, complex and colourful compositions that he exhibited annually at the Royal Academy summer exhibition from the 1950s until his death. He had a major retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1965, and was elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1966.

From one of William Roberts’ best periods, this dynamic composition exemplifies the artist’s distinct and celebrated approach to composition. As a member of the Vorticists founded by Wyndham Lewis in 1914, their work was characterised by hard-edged, semi-abstract renderings of human activity. This approached softened following the horrors of World War I and the disbandment of Vorticism but in the present work such formal concerns remain. Sport provided Roberts with ample subject-matter, depicting boxing, swimming, horse-racing and football in his oeuvre. Roberts returned to football later in his career, including a significant oil, Goal, from 1968. The present example has been in a private collection since the mid-2000s.

Well established at auction, works on paper of this subject and date are sought after and can realise upwards of £10,000. The very best examples have achieved six-figure prices.

Artist Resale Right (ARR) is applicable on the purchase price. 

£11,250

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