Peter Howson’s ex-wife sells art to pay health costs

Artist Peter Howson, in front of his painting 'Women of America'. Picture: Robert Perry

Artist Peter Howson, in front of his painting 'Women of America'. Picture: Robert Perry

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THE former wife of acclaimed Scottish artist Peter Howson is putting up her personal collection of his work for auction, to raise money to help look after their daughter, who suffers from Asperger syndrome.

The 390 paintings to go under the hammer include original and rare paintings, drawings and sketches of a range of subjects and include images of pop stars and works never exhibited before that Howson drew of his teachers while a schoolboy at Prestwick Academy.

The works make up the private collection belonging to the artist’s ex-wife, Terri. The Howsons will appear together at a photocall next week to promote the sale in aid of their 26-year-old daughter Lucie.

McTear’s Auctioneers revealed the stunning collection by Howson, whose works have adorned the homes of stars such as Mick Jagger and Madonna, would be sold at its Glasgow saleroom later this month.

The auction house said: “Amongst the works going up for sale are all ten original drawings of pop icon David Bowie, who posed for Howson at his London studio in 1994.

“The pair struck up a friendship after Bowie purchased two of Howson’s most controversial paintings depicting the Bosnian war.

“The sale also includes ten rare sketches of Madonna and a number of extremely rare early drawings Howson did of his teachers while he was a 13-year-old pupil.”

McTear’s said none of the works would have a reserve price, meaning all the works would be sold at the auction, on 28 April.

Howson, 54, gained international acclaim while working as an official war artist in the 1993 Bosnian civil war.

He is renowned for producing shocking and controversial work detailing the atrocities that were taking place at the time.

Many of his works depict stereotypes of social groups and include images of people involved in fights, drinking too much and of men and women with deformed faces.

In the past decade, his work has included paintings with a religious theme. Howson converted to Christianity after being treated for alcoholism and addiction to drugs.

Last month, Howson, who also suffers from Asperger syndrome, told The Scotsman how, five years ago, he had put his financial and professional affairs into the hands of a team of legal guardians when he started to become ill with depression.

He said: “Someone who knows me well said that when people are with me, they get caught up in this kind of whirlwind – it can either destroy them or it can make them, and very few stand the test.”

He also spoke of his love for daughter Lucie, saying: “She’s a great girl, the love of my life, I suppose, the greatest love I could ever have. We’ve almost got something telepathic going on.”

Talking of his more recent works, which he painted while in and out of hospital, where he was being treated for his mental health issues, he said his newer work was “more hopeful stuff, lighter in tone, some of it more classical”.

Howson, who grew up in Prestwick, Ayrshire, is a former pupil of the Glasgow School of Art. He was awarded an OBE in 2009.

One of his biggest commissions was for the Catholic church – the depiction of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, painted for the refurbished St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow, which was filmed for a BBC Four documentary, The Madness of Peter Howson.

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