large collection of Howson paintings in the possession of his ex-manager, William O’Neil, were reportedly seized in October

Back from the edge of financial and mental collapse – legal guardians for the painter have now agreed two mainstream exhibitions in London and Edinburgh.
First images were released yesterday of a show of Howson drawings to take place in late March at the prestigious Flowers East gallery in London. He called them the “cream of the crop” from works he had kept for himself.A second exhibition has been provisionally agreed at the Scottish Gallery, one of Edinburgh’s oldest and best-known private galleries, in early 2011. It will be his first show there since 1988.
Last month a court appointed legal guardians for Howson at his own request after sales of his work threatened to descend into chaos.He suffers from a form of autism known as Asperger’s syndrome and was described as struggling in social interaction and business dealings.Howson, 51, has been showing at Flowers, which has branches in London and New York, since 1987. But he has had an on-off relationship with the gallery. He said: “The reason the exhibition was done was to re-establish contact with the gallery. I’ve fallen out with them but also been friends.

“It’s drawings I’ve earmarked over the past five or six years that are the best of my work that I’ve kept to myself, the cream of the crop. We were trying to get back into the London market, we are also trying to establish contact with a major Scottish gallery.”His last major exhibition of oil paintings at Flowers in October 2008 reportedly sold out for over £700,000 before it opened.The new show features a selection of mostly pastel, pen and ink and pencil drawings.One – Falling Star – was a study for The Harrowing of Hell oil painting which sold in 2008 with a £300,000 price tag. But it bears an uncanny resemblance to the artist himself, visibly in trauma, while another work, Tilting At Windmills, is also full of angst.
A spokeswoman for Flowers said: “Howson is an incredible draughtsman and he has produced an outstanding body of work. It is a comprehensive selection of recent studies. Frankly, we were blown away by the pieces.”
Howson has been a driven and hugely productive artist despite personal turmoil, including past battles with addiction and alcoholism. In late 2006, a show devoted to St Andrew, at the council-run City Art Centre in Edinburgh, featured more than 80 paintings and drawings.Last year, as part of the celebrations of Robert Burns’s 250th anniversary, he produced scores of artworks inspired by the bard. Three galleries at the Glasgow Art Fair feature his work next month.A large collection of Howson paintings in the possession of his ex-manager, William O’Neil, were reportedly seized in October by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

Howson was recently commissioned to paint the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie at the renovated St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow. It is expected the Pope will view it when he visits in September.

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Tags: Contemporary Artists, pen and ink, flowers in october, Contemporary Artist, Modern Artist, business dealings, tilting at windmills, Paintings, falling star, cream of the crop

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