An extremely rare portrait inspired by a woman Sutherland saw on a bus. Marked similarities to Sutherland's stunning Weeping Magdalen of 1946. Sutherland's association and friendship with Bacon is clear to see.
Graham Sutherland moved from around 1946 from his focus on landscapes in the manner of William Blake and Samuel Palmer to figural works including the Crucifixion for St.Matthew’s Northampton and the tapestry “Christ in Majesty” at Coventry Cathedral. His work took on a more expressionistic quality in the manner of Munch. With its unrestrained colours and sweeping brushwork this painting is similar to his Weeping Magdalen of 1946 and Laughing Woman of the same year and appears to be the same model. In 1943, Sutherland had renewed his links with Francis Bacon and the two became close friends. Sutherland was deeply moved by the horrors of the second world war and images from the concentration camps. This is emotional Sutherland at his best, seeking to “make something which will give as direct and as strong an impact as the emotion which originally astonished me”.
Graham joins Bacon and Picasso in images of laughing/weeping women. Graham Sutherland's, Laughing Woman, 1946 is in the collection of Leicester Museum and Art Gallery,Leicester.
Private estate collection,Toronto