© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Hatton Gallery
This is signed in monogram WF? and dated 42 bottom left.
A detail of the initials / monogram.
The Collection has commented: ‘Unfortunately, there was nothing further on or with the painting to help us identify the artist or provenance beyond the image already on Art UK. I would guess that looking at teachers and students of the Newcastle Fine Art department in the 1930s-40s might be a place to start if we can take the '42' as a year, as many little-known paintings in the collection arrived via the department.'
It could be William (Bill) Crosbie
I can't find it in my monogram notes, but I agree it looks like WF (FW) and 1942. It looks more Northern European to me.
The title, however, is written in English, suggesting at least a UK-based artist.
I believe this could be a very early work of the Sunderland artist William Frederick Kite (1929 - 2014).
Here are two examples of his work:
“Street Scene No. 1”
W. F. Kite (active mid-20th C)
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
oul on hardboard
On Twitter.com for Tynemouth Fine Art
located within The Linskill Centre on North Tyneside
I noted that:
1. His sitters were often odd-looking people and their features were cartoonish;
2. His printing shown in the title “THE SIREN” is similar (in particular the letter “E”) to the printing he later uses to sign his name;
3. He paints in oil on board/oil on hardboard; and,
4. Hatton Gallery is located in Newcastle upon Tyne, therefore the location of this work would make it local to the Northumberland area, as are some of his other paintings that I have viewed online.
The picture looks inspired by German work.
Well, as Peter Nahum already said, inspired by Northern European work, at any rate.
Looking at the monogram I see I T F. So can I suggest Ian Fleming-a scottish artist who did several shelter drawings in 1942.If you look at "Shelter interior Glagow" you see the same open mouths. Possible??
Nothing like Ian Fleming's work which I know very well and who spoke at a conference which I organised
Roger Billcliffe is the man to ask for a second opinion
1942 was the year of the foundation in Glasgow of the New Art Club , which held a series of exhibitions of works by young and advanced artists as The New Scottish Group between 1943 and 1948 under the presidency of J D Fergusson
It might be worth checking the associated small publications for this work
Dennis Farr organised a small exhibition of this period in 1968, New Painting in Glasgow 1940- 46 for The Scottish ArtS Council
The footnotes and bibliography of Alice Strang, A New Era. Scottish Modern Art 1900-1950, National Galleries of Scotland , 2017 should provide further guidance
Strang is now at the Edinburgh Auctioneers , Lyon & Turnbull.
Emeritus Professor Duncan Macmillan [Edinburgh] and Roger Billcliffe of the Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow both might recognise the artist
Jane England of England & Co is the London dealer who might know, because of her study of two London based Scots , associated with Jankel Adler, Benjamin Creme and Robert Frame
If the artist was not Scottish one might try young Birmingham artists
Does the Collection know if this work was acquired in June/July 1942? If so, it is likely that the artist was a student at the King Edward VII School of Art.
That is a very good suggestion to follow up - both the Hatton Gallery and the School of Art are part of the University - and it should have in its archive a record of the art students of the period. Can the Hatton tells us about this? Does a handlist even in manuscript survive of the participants in this exhibition?
I agree with Martin and Marcie that we should be looking locally. Perhaps a student work, left behind and only incorporated in the collection later?
As the Hatton says (2/07/2021): ‘Unfortunately, there was nothing further on or with the painting to help us identify the artist or provenance ... I would guess that looking at teachers and students of the Newcastle Fine Art department in the 1930s-40s might be a place to start ... as many little-known paintings in the collection arrived via the department.'
I've been trying to find a popular actress who might have been called a "siren” in 1942. It seems to have been a common term.
An article from February 1942 indicated that Veronica Lake was in a "siren part". Here’s a composite based on an image of Veronica Lake and Frederic March.
of course we should also look to see if the initials of a member of staff matches the initials as Jacob suggests
Marcie, a siren in this context merely means a seductive and usually gorgeous woman - particularly one perceived to enjoy luring men into dangerous or wicked ways against their better judgement. Although the call of the sirens originates in Homer's Odyssey, it was, as you say, quite common parlance in the 30s & 40s: my mother certainly used the term, and she knew nothing of classical mythology. My father had a theory that its use was reinforced by an analogy with the wail of the air-raid siren, but that's probably fanciful...
There's one other artist in the Hatton Gallery with WF initials and it's William Fawcus: https://artuk.org/discover/artists/fawcus-william-19061994
...but the works on Art UK don't seem to match the style.
Perhaps, depending on the date of acquisition of this work, the catalogue for the “modern” art show at the Laing Art Gallery in April 1942 mentioned in this article could be checked for this artist.
This exhibtion catalogue is in the Tate Library
Assuming the monogram is WF- I think this painting looks a bit comic book/strip inspired-- so how about Trog ???
Here is excerpt from his biography....
In 1942, he entered an art competition that was judged by the Daily Mail's chief cartoonist Leslie Illingworth, who found him work with the Clement Davies advertising agency. On Fawkes' 21st birthday in 1945, Illingworth found Fawkes work at the Daily Mail drawing column-breaks and decorative illustrations. He signed the drawings as Trog, which was short for Troglodyte which came from his days from World War II. He once joked that due to the amount of time spent in underground air-raid shelters people in London were becoming troglodytes. Fawkes was later inspired by this to adopt "Trog" as his pen-name.
Could the artist be Hans Feibusch (1898–1998)?
My composites are based on works from 1942 (compare the placement of the initials and date) and 1939 (compare the faces):
Very interesting Marcie. Mind you -the H and F in several other works of his are also clearly separated-vertical H and vertical F. The two 42s are a bit different.
The brush work is similar-and in "David and Goliath" the colour palette is very similar. Feibusch does seem to have concentrated on Church Murals.
Still our monogram does look like W.F.--- or possibly I T F.
The H in" the siren" does look like a vertical H.
But definitely food for thought. :-).
BTW. Trog did also do faces with open mouths.
could we misreading the monogram? could it be MF for Millie Frood? She was from Motherwell and a member of the New Scottish Group
She was in Bill Hare' s Lemon Street Gallery , Truro exhibition of 2008 The Glssgow School of Painting