Liverpool artwork of the day – Monday October 15 2007. ‘Under the Hammer’ 1914 by Robert Bevan (1865 – 1925), Oil on canvas. In the Walker Art Gallery.
After training in London and Paris, Bevan worked in the early 1890s at Pont Aven in Brittany where he met Gauguin. The influence of French Post-Impressionism with its emphasis on the flat, patterned surface of the painting and its use of prominent outlines, is very clear in Bevan’s work, but his paintings tend to use more subdued colours, appropriate to his English, urban subjects.
After settling in London in 1900 he began to paint scenes of horse-drawn cabs and – as here – horse sales. In these works the nobility of the animals is usually contrasted with the drab but respectful character of the onlookers. Bevan included among the latter studies of his wife – at the left – and in the centre his daughter and himself.