The second work of international repute is Cyril Power’s The Tube Station c.1932 (Lot 13 ). At around the same time that Vu Cao Dam was setting foot in Paris, the British artist and printmaker Cyril Power was producing this iconic linocut. After establishing the Grosvenor School of Art in London with Claude Flight in the 1920s, Power began to form his printmaking practice in the ensuing years. As his practice developed, his interest in speed and metropolitan life transpired onto his medium. The Tube Station captures the rapid pace of London's underground railway system, with Power’s recognisable fluid and sweeping forms indicating the strength at which the train moves through the vortex of the underground tunnel. The Tube Station encapsulates the spirit of the interwar period, a time of rapid urbanisation and social change. The edition on offer in Leonard Joel’s Fine Art auction was acquired in England by the photographer, Gwendolyn Morris, before its inheritance to her descendants in South Australia.
Aside from these international masterpieces, there are numerous other artworks likely to attract collector interest. Lot 20 by Vincas Jomantas is an exception example of the artist’s sculptural genius, being one of the few works seen by him produced in bronze. Girl with Birds was first conceptualised by Vincas in 1958 but was not cast in bronze intil 1976 for the National Gallery of Australia’s collection. Two were produced, one to remain in the collection the other to be loaned to various international embassies. This second casting has now been deaccessioned from the NGA’a collection to be publicly sold with Leonard Joel. It is a rare example to own an institutional quality work, at home.
Another great collecting opportunity is seen in lot 12 by Jeffrey Smart, Drawing Study for The Waiting Bus c.1986. Jeffrey Smart prided himself on his draghstmanship skills and believed any good painter must first be a successful drawer. In the 1980’s he was experimenting with lithography to produce the eventual edition, The Waiting Bus, with master printmaker Neil Leveson. This sketch was a personal construction to outline to Neil his ideal form and colour choices. Jeffrey even included a special dedication to Neil in the lower right. After having been in the collection of Neil’s widow, Dr. Lynne Leveson, for nearly 30 years after his passing, it is now being released onto the market for the very first time. It provides an invaluable opportunity to delve further into the workings of one of Australia’s most recognised modern artists.
Leonard Joel’s June Fine Art auction will be held at their Melbourne premises at 6pm on Tuesday 27th June 2023.