Technique and condition

Two Figures (Heroes) is executed in graphite and oil paint on a smooth chalk and glue ground laid onto a single sheet of hardboard. This type of ground requires intensive preparation. Slight trails of brush hairs indicate that the artist first brushed on thin layers of chalk and glue, then, when they were dry, carved the white ground to a flat, almost polished surface with a flat blade.

A final preparatory layer of a wash of sienna-coloured paint was brushed over the ground. The design was then marked out in pencil for sharp lines and with a rag soaked in diluent for broad strokes. Broad bands of light and half tones were created by partially scraping away the brown paint to reveal the white ground below. Paint was fully removed to create the pale rectangle on the left.

Coloured rectangles were painted on top within these guidelines. Fine details on the left were drawn in pencil over washes of oil paint. Finally lines were strengthened with thick graphite pencil, in places worked heavily to make the surface polished and glossy.

The painting is displayed in its original frame. This comprises of a plain wood L-section frame which has ‘Nicholson’ style joints running anticlockwise is braced with three horizontal bars on the reverse.

The painting is in good condition.

Mary A. Bustin
December 2001