JOHN FERREN (1905–1970)
Grey Scale Composition, 1937
Oil and sand on canvas, 35 x 45 5/8 in.
Signed and dated (on the back): Ferren / 37
EX COLL.: [Galerie de Beaune, Paris]; to private collection, Paris, until 2014
Grey Scale Composition is a major oil by Ferren from 1937. It particularly reflects the influence of Hélion’s abstraction in Ferren’s work. Here, the artist has created a dynamic, rhythmic composition by juxtaposing firmly modeled geometric and curvilinear shapes against a muted, tonal background. The strikingly austere, monochromatic palette of Grey Scale Composition, unusual in Ferren’s oeuvre, helps the artist place an even greater emphasis on line, form, and volume. Ferren also plays slightly with surface texture, including trace amounts of gritty sand in a small number of geometric regions.