ALASDAIR GRAY (SCOTTISH 1934-2019) NIGHT STREET SELF PORTRAIT Ink with colour added, 53 x 42cm, (20.75 x 16.5”) ‘GMA 50th Anniversary Displays / Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art / Sorcha Dallas Gallery’ and title inscribed to sticker verso Alasdair Gray is a Scottish artist and writer of international standing whose paintings, books and murals form and unparalleled body of work in contemporary culture. Born in 1934 in Glasgow, he graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1957, and he is regarded as the father figure of the renaissance of Scottish Art and Literature. Night Steet Self Portrait 1953, an important early work, was included in Gray's retrospective exhibition in 2014 in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This seminal early city scape work can be seen as a precursor of one of his most famous works, Cowcaddens Streetscape in the Fifties. Night Street Self Portrait 1953 is referenced in Gray's obituary, written by James Campbell for The Guardian in December 2019. Campbell regards Night Street as a significant work, stating, ‘Night Street Self Portrait (1953) depicts a brooding figure in half-darkness against a background of kissing lovers and happy families. A black cat depicted nine times suggests that life is draining away.’ This poignant artwork is also used as the book cover for playwright David Greig’s, Lanark: A Life in Three Acts- Adapted for the Stage. In September 2020, The Great Western Auctions handled the estate of Alasdair Gray with a highly successful auction of the contents of the Studio of Alasdair Gray which included original Artworks, personal effects and studio artefacts.
On inspection Night Street is in good condition. Light wear to the surface of the work, tiny marks to visible areas of paper and tiny red dots in some places, likely to have been done at the time the work was made. There are also small creases in the paper which are only visible at a very close look. The tear in the corner looks as if the whole corner has come off at some point, and it has been put back into place (shown in images). When researching this picture, this imperfection shows up in many online images, indicative that it has been there for many years. We would recommend viewing the work in the flesh if you are able to.