Hydaspes (1988) by Gillian Ayres, priced at £120,000 (+20% UK VAT) at Alon Zakaim Fine Art.

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Both are for sale, priced at £120,000 (+20% UK VAT) and $245,000 (+5% import VAT) respectively, in an exhibition comparing post-war British and American paintings at Alon Zakaim Fine Art in London’s Cork Street.

Running until April 7, UK vs USA: Post-War to Present explores the British and US preoccupations and approaches to abstraction in the decades following the culmination of the Second World War.

“Post-War American art is often defined merely as a time period spanning 1945-70, rather than by the set of styles and ideas that encompassed the movement, as with British art”, the gallery says. “Beyond this generalisation, Post-War American art constituted radically innovative developments that paved the way for the British and, at times, opposed their views to move in separate directions.”

The exhibit is arranged stylistically, and the gallery has paired together artworks “to establish unheard dialogues and fresh perspectives.”


Doric Order (1966) by Alfred Jensen, $245,000 at Alon Zakaim Fine Art.

Among them it uses Eileen Agar’s Tropic of Music – a work of overlapping layers, shapes and planes signifying the foliage of a garden and musical symphony – to illustrate how American critics praised British abstract artists for their successful translation of nature’s qualities into paint while rejecting elements in the work of their American contemporaries, like ‘empty’ backgrounds and unrealistic sunsets.

“In reality the British lyrical abstractionists such as Gillian Ayres owed much to the American examples of Jackson Pollock and Sam Francis, who had broken away from geometrical models to project ‘free abstraction’ – an entirely spontaneous process of flinging, spattering, and dripping paint across the surface”, the gallery says.

The show opens against the backdrop of British Pre-War figurative art by LS Lowry and David Bomberg with examples of Post-War American art by William Gropper and Hans Hofmann. Other artists with work in the show include Jim Dine, Henry Moore and Damian Hirst.