Neil Forster (British 1939-2016) Portrait of a Jack Russell Terrier, charcoals on white/light grey paper, signed, 9.5in x 13.5in, in a glazed, gilt composition neoclassical style frame.
Outstanding for their portrayal of dogs’ characters, particularly Jack Russells, Forster’s pastels and drawings/watercolors can fetch some high prices:
On 20 Nov 2018, Christies sold a drawing/watercolor of a Jack Russell (15 x 10 in - Lot number 71) by this artist, with an accompanying drawing, for £8,125.00 (including buyer’s premium).
On 21st March 2013, Sotheby’s sold a pastel of a Jack Russell (9 1/2 x 12 in - Lot number 30) by this artist for £8,750 (including buyer’s premium).
Sight (visible painting): Height: 9.5in (24cm) Width: 13.5in (34cm)
Frame: Height: 14.75in (37.5cm) Width: 18.75in (47.5cm)
CONDITION: The drawing is in excellent condition. There is some faint browning just visible at the top of the paper. The beading around the back outside edge of the frame has some losses, retouched with gilding paste. Nothing visually distracting or detracting.
Neil Forster (b. 29 January, 1939, d. 24 February, 2016)
British Figurative Painter: Portraits, Horses and Dogs. Landscapes.
Born in Calcutta in 1939, Neil Forster accompanied his mother, with his three younger siblings, on her return to Sussex after the Second World War.
His father, who worked with a tea plantation group, remained in India until his retirement.
Forster was educated firstly at Hurst Court Prep. School, where his artistic ability was recognised from a young age, winning a prize sponsored by the Royal Academy. Continuing his education at Bradfield College, Neil Forster won a scholarship to the Byam Shaw Art School.
Between 1960 and 1968, Forster’s work was exhibited at the Royal Academy.
It was following a solo exhibition, however, at Midhurst in 1963 that Forster decided upon a full-time career as an artist, setting up a home-cum-studio in Glebe Place, Chelsea, London.
From 1966, Neil Forster spent some time leading a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, passing a number of years across Europe, particularly Spain. During this period, Forster supported himself largely by painting portraits of his hosts and the surrounding landscape, and via commissions, painting portraits and murals. One such commission came from the Kuwaiti Royal Family, to paint horses, hawks, and camels.
In 1967, Forster forged a close friendship with the son of painter Sir Oswald Birley, Mark, founder of Annabel’s nightclub. Mark Birley became Neil Forster’s loyal patron, commissioning Forster to paint every one of the Birley family’s dogs until Mark’s death in 2007. Neil Forster’s dog portraits are the most celebrated of his works, loved not only for their precision, but for the capture of each one’s character and the appeal of their facial expression.
On his permanent return to England in the early 1980s, Forster settled firstly in a house owned by the Earl of Suffolk, and then went on to buy a house in Sherston. With Sherston’s close proximity to the Highgrove Estate, Neil Forster soon became friends with Prince Charles and, later, Camilla Parker Bowles. The Prince of Wales became Forster’s patron as well as friend, and the two enjoyed painting holidays together in Scotland, the artist teacher to the Prince.
Quoted in ‘The Sherston Cliffhanger’ (p14 May 2016) Chris Beetles, whose Gallery had held a solo exhibition of Forster’s paintings in 1970, said of Neil Forster’s works: “I can’t think of any more talented pastel portraitist, either of people or of animals, since the Second World War. His gifts were sublime.”
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Neil Forster (British 1939-2016) Portrait of a Jack Russell Terrier, charcoals on white/light grey paper, signed, 9.5in x 13.5in
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