Jun 06, 2024 - Sale 2671

Sale 2671 - Lot 53

Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 5,000

Oil on canvas, 1969. 2413x1690 mm; 95x66½ inches.

Provenance: Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, New York, with the label verso; private collection, New York; private collection, Chicago.

Stroud (1921-2012), who was mainly a self-taught artist during his early years, was born in England. At age 18, he joined the British Army Intelligence and Signal Corps and served in World War II; he was captured in the Libyan desert and subsequently held as a prisoner of war for four years in Italian and German war camps.

Following the war, an influential Paul Klee exhibition in 1950 was instrumental in sealing Stroud's decision to become an artist. He completed his artistic training at London University and the Central School for Art, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1953, and joined a group of young British abstract artists, including Victor Pasmore. During ventures to Paris, through an association with Peggy Guggenheim, he met the artist Jean Helion, whose influence solidified Stroud's commitment to abstraction. The English abstract artist Ben Nicholson was also a major influence during this period.

During the early 1960s, Stroud taught at the Maidstone College of Art, Kent, while exhibiting frequently with prominent galleries in London, including his first solo show at the Institute for Contemporary Art in 1961 and with landmark group shows including "Dimensions," 1959, and "Situation," 1960, at the RBA Gallery. Following his success in England, Stroud moved to the United States and became the chairperson of the fine arts department at Bennington College, Vermont, and his work was included in the Museum of Modern Art's, New York, groundbreaking 1965 exhibition, "The Responsive Eye." At Bennington, Stroud was influenced by the sculptor Tony Smith, and exhibitions of artworks by Barnett Newman and Agnes Martin. It was also during this time that he began his friendship with fellow artist Ad Reinhardt. Following his tenure at Bennington, Stroud became Chair of the Art Department then Director of the Graduate Program at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

In 1969, Stroud was commissioned to paint murals for the iconic Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company building in New York, at the southwest corner of West 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue, the first bank building in the United States to be built in the International Style (designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and opened in 1954).