Recently, a charity I frequent held a sale. I could not go in the morning due to other obligations but went in the afternoon even though I figured most things would be well picked through. There were very few pictures to look at but I went through them. I noticed off to the side a pair of pictures and at first site they did not stir my interest. They were dusty and someone had actually left a shoe print on one. I examined only the recto side and put the picture down but something nagged at me to be go and have a better look. Back I went and turned the painting over to look at the verso. Here to my surprise was a title strip and a London gallery label.
This should be a signal and I thought I would hang on to this very odd piece. Since there was a sale on, it cost me very little. It was at this time I thought I would have a better look at the back. To my amazement the was a name written in very light pencil.
#MontagueDawson (1895-1973) is possibly the most renowned maritime artist of the 20th century in the UK. His works regularly sell in the six figure range. His early training came via a commercial art studio. He joined the navy in WWI in the Dazzle Painting Section. After the war he sailed upon the St. George to the South Seas. He went as artist in residence and also provided The Graphic with illustrations for its’ publications. He later worked for the publication called The Sphere. He turned professional marine artist after the war and exhibited regularly at the Royal Society of Marine Artists. His works were and are coveted and his artworks were bought by 2 American presidents and the British Royal Family.
As you can see, #TheBacchante is not a masterpiece. It is different. It has the beginnings of talent. Was this piece very early in his career. Was he experimenting with an impressionistic style. Maybe it was a sketch for either of the papers he drew for. I don’t know. All I can say is that it bears his name and came through a reputable London gallery.