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Lyon & Turnbull to sell rare early Bellany painting
‘Self portrait – Hogmonay’ was painted in 1968 and is valued at £20,000 - £30,000.

EDINBURGH.- Lyon & Turnbull are to sell a rare early painting by Scottish artist John Bellany on the 14th August 2014, titled ‘Self portrait – Hogmonay’, it was painted in 1968 and is valued at £20,000 - £30,000.

Charlotte Riordan, Painting Specialist at Lyon & Turnbull said “John Bellany, who sadly died last year, was one of the best loved Scottish artists of the 20th century. One result of his passing has been the re-emergence of some significant early works on to the market.”

‘Self portrait – Hogmonay’ was painted in 1968, towards the end of Bellany’s time at the Royal College of Art. “Several new and important motifs can be seen in the painting, the parrot, the skeleton and the element of self portraiture.” explained Charlotte. “Bellany always had plastic parrots dotted around his studio. The exaggeration of its beak in this panting is a theme repeated by Bellany with seagulls and Puffins in later works.”

About this time Bellany visited Germany, with friends the artist Alexander Moffat and poet Alan Bold, where they visited artists on the East side of the Wall, an experience that was to prove a useful instruction in Social Realism for all three. They took a tour to Buchenwald concentration camp which resulted in a real sense of foreboding and an engagement with human suffering to enter Bellany’s work.

There are 5 other Bellany paintings in the sale including ‘THE GREAT DREAM’. Valued at £6,000-£8,000, a triptych painting is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections, or three carved panels which are hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open. It is therefore a type of polyptych, the term for all multi-panel works. The middle panel is typically the largest and it is flanked by two smaller related works, although there are triptychs of equal-sized panels. The highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction was $142.4 million for a 1969 triptych, ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’, by Francis Bacon.

Bellany was born in Port Seton. During the 1960s, he studied at Edinburgh College of Art and then at the Royal College of Art in London. In much of his work, he drew inspiration from the coastal communities from which he came. Many of Bellany's paintings contain the fishing community, either oil paintings of harbours, or portraits of the fishing community people. His health problems which led to a liver transplant also inspired works. A late life move to Barga, Tuscany, Italy had drastically changed his work which showed a huge optimism in the brighter colour range used.

Bellany's work is included in some of the world's great collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum, New York and Tate Britain, London.

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