February 23, 2014


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Lot 40: Frederick Hammersley

Lot 40: Frederick Hammersley

Chinese Toys

Oil on canvas

Signed in pencil "F. Hammersley" on lower canvas stretcher verso; dated in pencil "15 July 54-5...60" verso; retains Louis Stern Fine Arts, Aaron Payne Fine Art, and Charlotte Jackson Fine Art labels verso

Canvas: 20" x 24"; Frame: 25.125" x 29.25"

Together with exhibition catalogue

Provenance: Aaron Payne Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico;
Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, 2005);
Private Collection, Las Vegas, Nevada (acquired directly from the above, 2006)

Exhibited: "Gallery Selections," Aaron Payne Fine Art, Brooklyn, Winter 2002-03

Illustrated: Gallery Selections. Exhibition Catalogue. Brooklyn: Aaron Payne Fine Art, 2002. (cover).

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000
Price Realized: $43,750
Inventory Id: 9039

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One of the youngest of the Hard Edge painters at the time of "Four Abstract Classicists," Frederick Hammersley (1919-2009) had served in World War II and attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. While teaching at Pomona College and the Pasadena Art Museum in the 1950s, he painted using his "hunch" method, an unconscious approach that involved building upon a chosen shape through instinctively matched colors. This intuitive method, like many of his fellow Hard Edge painters, distinguishes his approach from pure Geometric Abstraction. "You put down a shape and it just lies there, and then you make a movement and it just comes alive," said Hammersley in describing his perception of the relationship between color, shape, and perspective. "I've never quite understood that, but it's just marvelous. The shapes have attitudes, and the painting just clicks; it's unbelievable." From a period prior to his distinctly Hard Edge paintings of the 60s, Chinese Toys (1954-56) utilizes this hunch method with an extensive vocabulary of colors and shapes, resulting in an abstract landscape.

Colpitt, Frances. "Hard Edge Cool." The Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury. Ed. Elizabeth Armstrong. Newport Beach: Orange County Museum of Art, 2007. 80-106. Print.
Frederick Hammersley Foundation. Frederick Hammersley Foundation, 2012. Web. 24 March 2012.
Hammersley, Frederick. Interview with Vanessa Smith. L.A. Louver, 2012. Web. 10 Jan 2014.
Peabody, Rebecca, Andrew Perchuck, Glenn Phillips, and Rani Singh, eds. Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art 1945-1980. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2011. Print.