Period: Mid-Twentieth Century
Height: 12 inches
Width: 9 inches
Or 20” x 16.5” (The Frame)
‘Spaceman’, signed and dated ‘67 in pencil to the margin, worked in pencil and print, glazed and presented in the original frame, with label verso for framers J.Davey & Sons of Duke Street, Liverpool.
The human face dominated artist Sam Walsh’s output and we see it appear here again, the work having some similarities to Walsh’s portrait of J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) in the colour and composition of the face. The futuristic feel to the picture has the space race in mind, prominent in the 1960s, with this picture dated 1967, and Neil Armstrong finally stepping on the moon in 1969. We see the ‘spaceman’ full bust, the perfectly circular face personifying the moon, the robotic like armoured right arm and hand brought up to the face holding a lit cigarette, the smoke giving off a luminous hue, with the combination of print and pencil working beautifully. The colour in the picture is beautifully balanced with the ruby red of the helmet in stark contrast to the cloudy, yet sharply and sensitively drawn, facial features. The picture could be interpreted as essentially showing the metamorphism of man and machine.
The condition of the work itself is good with nothing detrimental to note. The original frame has some wear to its silver gilt and there is some water marks to the upper section of the inset border.
Sam Walsh was born in Enniscorthy, Ireland in 1934. He attended Dublin College of Art and in 1955 he moved to London spending five years drifting between jobs and playing the guitar professionally. He also produced portraits and murals and exhibited work at the ICA. In 1960 he moved to Liverpool, and in 1962, at the opening of their joint exhibition at London's influential Portal Gallery, Walsh and his fellow Liverpool artist Adrian Henri were introduced to Francis Bacon.
Walsh then began a teacher-training course in Liverpool and continued to show his work around England, sharing wall space with the likes of Peter Blake, David Hockney and Patrick Hughes. Walsh was progressively included in key shows of Liverpool painters, as well as having his own exhibitions; he was in the Liverpool Academy`s touring show The Face of Merseyside, in 1976, in 1983 was in the 1st Merseyside Artists Exhibition which toured from Walker Art Gallery, then in 1987 his portrait of Samuel Beckett was shown at National Portrait Gallery. Other portrait subjects included Mick Jagger, J. Edgar Hoover and Ivon Hitchens. Sam Walsh died in Liverpool in 1989 aged 55.
A great opportunity to own a fabulously unique and unusual piece of mid twentieth century artwork with real beauty and most importantly balance, by an artist who has brushed shoulders with the very best of his contemporaries.