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John Banting

1902 – 1972

Snake in the Grass, Alas by John Banting

Snake in the Grass, Alas   1931

  Original linocut, printed in colours.
Signed and dated in pencil.
Ref: Postan/Tate Gallery.
S 227 x 276 mm; I 88 x 125 mm
Original John Banting linocut.

Very good impression with vibrant, totally unfaded colours.

This early work shows the abstract expressionism which prevailed briefly in John Banting’s art after his first meeting with Breton and his associates in Paris in 1930. It was immediately after this work that John Banting turned to the surreal style for which he became known and of which he remains perhaps the sole British protagonist.

This linocut was created in 1931 and was intended as one of a number of elements which were to be cut up and arranged in collages. The block for this print, along with six companion blocks, was discovered by Alexander Postan and six of them were printed for him in 1971 in an edition of 45 each. This impression is from the 1971 edition, immediately after which the blocks were presented to the Tate Gallery Archive.

This striking work reveals John Banting’s interest in shifting colours, an interest which reached its logical conclusion in this printing with the rainbow colours he has chosen. Printed the year before his death, this print was signed by the artist himself in 1971, but dated to indicate the year in which the image was cut, and not the date of its printing.

On simile-Japan paper with wire lines, as issued. With wide margins and deckle edge. Trace of pencil framing line in extreme outer margins, otherwise very fine condition.