SCALES, Flora;

Town by the Water (Saint-Tropez)

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Oil on canvas
320 x 390mm (image); 425 x 495mm (frame)

This work is identified as BC021 on the Flora Scales website, where it is titled Basilica and Lighthouse, St Tropez, Southern France. It shows the old town of Saint-Tropez. The church at centre is l’église Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption de Saint-Tropez (the church of Our Lady of the Assumption of Saint-Tropez). The Flora Scales website observes:

‘Scales has chosen to work from a high viewpoint which with an overall intensity of colour brings distance nearer to the picture plane. Planes of colour nudge and nestle together across the lower half of the canvas to portray the ancient town in contrast with the smooth expanse of the sea and the flowing hills beyond. This procedure shows her intelligent understanding of Hans Hofmann’s spatial concepts … She has implemented Hofmann’s theories and adjusted the role of the curved path. Reduced in scale and curved towards the edge of her canvas it plays its part in the formal arrangement of colour, geometric planes and diverging diagonals to suggest the space and vitality of the scene without recourse to traditional rules of perspective.’

Two closely related paintings are known: Mediterranean Village, in the Dowse Art Museum, and Untitled
[Basilica and Lighthouse, St Tropez]
, in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (2006-0007-5). There is also a related drawing, Untitled [Cubist drawing, St Tropez], in the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.

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F. SCALES 1939[?] [l.r.]

Exhibition History

The Women of Pumpkin Cottage, Whirinaki Whare Taonga, Whakatiki Upper Hutt, 17 June to 23 October 2023

Helen F. V. Scales, Auckland City Art Gallery (later Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki), Tāmaki Makaurau, 16 December 1975 to 11 January 1976


Fletcher Trust Collection, purchased from The Tim & Sherrah Francis Collection, Evening One, Art+Object, Tāmaki Makaurau, 7 September 2016, lot 34

Collection of Tim and Sherrah Francis, Te Whanganui-a-Tara