Period: The return to England

White steps White steps
painted in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, 1936
oil on cardboard 51 x 40.5 cm
not signed, not dated
verso, unfinished portrait in oil
private collection

Frustrated with the portrait commissions she had been forced to paint to make ends meet, Stella Bowen found in the courtyard of the studio in Cagnes a perfect subject, evocative of the life and light of the Proven├žal she so loved:

Sunlight reflected from red tiled floors on to whitewashed walls, closed shutters and open windows and an air so soft that you live equally in and out of doors, suggest an existence so sweet and simple that you wonder that life ever appeared the tangled, hustling and distracting piece of nonsense you once thought it.