Sir William Russell Flint, R.A., P.R.W.S.
1880-1969 | Scottish
Models Resting, Moray, West Highlands
Signed “W. Russell Flint” (lower right)
Pencil and watercolor on paper
Beautifully composed and imbued with light, this remarkable watercolor is the work of Scottish painter Sir William Russell Flint. One of the most celebrated watercolorists of the 20th century, Flint enjoyed considerable success during his lifetime, and today his lasting reputation is tied to his remarkable talent for portraying the female form. It is his watercolor paintings such as this one of semi-nudes on the beach that are his most well-known, and which command consistent and considerable attention among collectors.
In this work, a woman with a parasol rests on a sand dune, glancing backward over her shoulder to make eye contact with the viewer. Her friend, another young woman in a long, gauzy dress, strolls toward the viewer with a towel tucked under her arm. With the given title Models Resting, Moray, West Highlands, we can assume that these women modeled in his other works, but are indulging in a break from posing to bask more informally in the sun.
Delicately rendered and infused with a dream-like lightness, the work showcases Flint’s incredible technical skill and mastery of his art. Though he also painted in oils and tempura, his most characteristic works are his watercolors, precisely and gracefully rendered with gradations of wash and texture to incredible effect.
Born in Edinburgh, Flint began his artistic training at the age of 14 when he embarked upon a six-year apprenticeship as a lithographic draughtsman. In 1903 he joined The Illustrated London News, earning him a reputation as a gifted illustrator. After serving in World War I, Flint devoted his time to painting, and soon became an Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1924. In a career spanning 70 years, it would be his treatment of the female figure that was considered most masterful. He was honored in 1962 by the Royal Academy with a retrospective exhibition of his works - the highest such recognition an artist can achieve during his lifetime.
Canvas: 19" high x 26" wide
Frame: 27 1/2" high x 34 1/2" wide x 1" deep
Inscribed "It is a great pleasure to see this / picture after an interval of many years / I am delighted to know that Adrian Jacobs / owns it / W Russell Flint / Apr 2 1969" on the backboard
Adrian Jacobs, by 1969
Private Collection, Scotland
M.S. Rau, New Orleans