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Muirhead Bone

(1876 Partick, Glasgow – 1953 Ferry Hukley, Oxfordshire)

Self-portrait of the Artist with Hat, No. 2. Drypoint. 15.2 x 12.9 cm. Dodgson 246 VII.

The Scottish draughtsman and etcher, Muirhead Bone, is considered one of the outstanding British architectural draughtsmen of the 20th century. He achieved additional fame as a draughtsman during the two world wars. Trained in Glasgow by Archibald Kay and Fra Newberry, his first printed views of Glasgow neighbourhoods and suburbs revealed the influence of Whistler and Meryon. Bone took part in the Royal Academy exhibitions in London and soon had solo exhibitions. While the works he produced as a war draughtsman on the Western Front from 1916 onwards were also used for propaganda purposes, they also served to consolidate his reputation, as a consequence of which he was made a trustee of the Tate Gallery after the First World War and, later on, of the National Gallery. This self-portrait radiates a compelling spontaneity and was clearly inspired by the famous Rembrandt prototype. While the draughtsman’s intense gaze reveals deep concentration, the numerous animated hatchings and the light slanting in through a window conjure up a sense of flickering energy and momentariness. A very fine impression with wide margins, minor ageing and traces of a previous mounting on the verso, otherwise in excellent condition.

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