Contemporary Art Market: Nostalgia masters display contrasting perspectives

NOSTALGIA paintings are proving as popular in the late twentieth century as history paintings were in the nineteenth. Two major nostalgia masters are currently showing in the West End - Stephen Conroy at Marlborough Fine Art (6 Albemarle St, W1) and Jonathan Warrender at Deborah Gage (38 Old Bond St, W1). Both exhibitions are sold out, bar a couple of small studies.

Stephen Conroy made an instant hit with his first one-man exhibition at the Marlborough in 1989, which was also shown at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. It is very rare for an exhibition from a commercial gallery to tour museums, but that was the way with Conroy's arrival on the scene at the age of 25. Now 28, his prices have risen to pounds 5,000 for a small study and pounds 40,000 for a large figure subject.

In 1989, his nostalgia was for the Edwardian era; he painted dark groups of figures suggestive of this period. This time he has gone back to Rembrandt and Caravaggio, borrowing their tricks with light, their grouping of figures and Rembrandt's dark, scumbling brushwork. The figures in his pictures are still young men in Edwardian suits. There is a twentieth-century twist in the tail of these works. They look as if they are illustrations of great human dramas or myths - but no one has yet made up the stories.

Jonathan Warrender, 38, specialises in the rural idyll of a country house with its surrounding estates. For the last 10 years he has been painting bird's eye views of these houses and their grounds on commission for their owners. Many of his large commissioned paintings are on view at Deborah Gage's Gallery, including Cawdor Castle, Chequers (painted for Baroness Thatcher) and Chateau Latour. He charges between pounds 30,000 and pounds 40,000 for each of these undertakings.

His method is to stay at the house for around six weeks, working up detailed sketches of different views. When he knows the shapes well enough he makes the imaginative leap into the sky and designs his painting from the height of a bird or helicopter. Only the sketches have been on sale at this show. They ranged from pounds 125 for a very slight one to pounds 1,600 for a finished vista.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map