John Cecil Stephenson (1889-1965):
Three Graces, 1945
Unmounted (ref: 874)
Signed and titled on the reverse
Oil on prepared paper with scratching out,
18 x 22 1/2 in. (45.7 x 57.1 cm.)
Provenance: The Artists family
Although Stephenson made his first abstract paintings around 1932 he continued to work in a semi-figurative style throughout his life. In 1934 he exhibited with the 7 & 5 Society, along with Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Ivon Hitchens, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and John Piper. Though not today as well known as many of his contemporaries he was one of the key figures in the development of abstract art in Britain. Indeed Herbert Reed noted that Stephenson 'was one of the earliest artists in this country to develop a completely abstract style' and credited him with being the father figure of the 'gentle nest of artists' (Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore) who occupied the Mall Studio's in Hampstead. At the beginning of WW2 Calder and Mondrian counted amongst his friends and were frequent visitors to The Mall Studios.