Sarah Raphael (1960-2001) died young: preparing a show for New York, she contracted pneumonia and never recovered.
Her work, large- and small-scale, is now represented in all the leading British collections.
A major retrospective at Marlborough Fine Arts, London, in 2003, bringing together work from her last seven years, was as amazing as her earlier exhibitions in its brilliance, its formal variety and inventiveness.
One breathtaking area of her work which has so far been inadequately displayed is her drawing.
There are few modern artists who equal her in assurance and firmness of line.
Michael Ayrton said to her when she was fourteen, 'Draw your own hands.
If you can draw your own hands you can do anything.' She did, and she could.
Her informal portraits of friends, some well-known, some unknown, never flatter except in telling the truth.
She did justice to every model, and her sense of setting, the economy of her perspectives, her ability to create presence, continue to amaze the viewer.
Even the most seemingly casual sketch, closely observed, reconstitutes an original, sculptural space about it. The lessons Michael Ayrton taught ensured that she is always at least a three-dimensional artist.
Most of the drawings are from her notebooks and sketchbooks, and Frederic Raphael draws from over twenty-five years of work, primarily pencil sketches.
As William Boyd has written, 'you can tell how good they are, yourself'.
She has her own, unarguable authority.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 144 pages, chiefly Illustrations
- Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 28/10/2004
- Category: Drawing & drawings
- ISBN: 9781857546620