The born and bred ‘Orkneyman’ returned to the archipelago to paint its dramatic coastlines throughout his illustrious career on the Scottish mainland.
Two of the painter’s Orkney views were offered at Bristol Auction Rooms (20/18/12% buyer’s premium) on September 13 in Ashton. The pair, an oil and a watercolour, were given by the artist to the vendor’s great-grandfather, a doctor on the islands after the Second World War.
The 15 x 17in (38 x 44cm) oil on board, View of the Orkney Coast (above), signed and dated 1931, was the more expensive, selling to a phone buyer at £3500 against a £600-800 estimate. The smaller 9½in (24cm) square watercolour from 1914, depicting Kirkwall harbour, where the artist was born, sold against the same guide to a different buyer on the phone for £1700.
Primarily known for his role in introducing Post-Impressionism and Futurism to Scotland, Cursiter also spent close to three decades at the head of the art world in Scotland, acting as keeper and then director of the National Galleries of Scotland between 1919-48.
On the secondary market, works from the most influential period of Cursiter’s career in the early 20th century carry a premium.
In the last three years, two significant exhibition works from this period have sold for six-figure sums, including The Ribbon Counter. The Futurist-inspired work from 1913 made a premium-inclusive £338,500 at Christie’s London in June 2016, a record for the artist at auction according to the Art Sales Index.