Spring Frieze

Year: 1945
Medium: Pen and Ink
Measurements: 43 x 31.6 cm
Provenance: Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow
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Spring Frieze was drawn by Hannah Frank in 1945 and was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1946.

In the bottom right corner of the drawing, a figure depicted in profile sits on the ground. The figure is androgynous in presentation but can be interpreted as masculine as Frank has not outlined their breasts as she did for the other figures within the piece. Although a part of his back stands beyond the composition, it appears as if he is leaning his back against the frame of the drawing. He wears a white dress, as indicated by the line around his neck, left wrist, and foot. The dress is neither detailed nor textured and stands as a plane of white. The only lines bringing detail into the figure are the ones giving texture to the figure’s hair. He holds a small flower in his hand, perhaps a daisy. With his face pointed downwards and his eyes closed, the figure’s head appears to lean forward heavily, perhaps expressing a melancholic expression, or simply just resting his eyes.

This first figure is sitting on a field of grass on which more daisies have grown. The grass is detailed by very short and vertical lines covering the ground. Horizontal and slightly curvilinear continuous lines layer the field and give relief to the environment. Those lines, spanning across the width of the drawing, are depicted at an equal distance from each other.

On the second plane, three female figures are depicted standing. They are drawn in the same way as the figure sitting in the foreground, their dresses are similarly white and unadorned. This time, the dresses follow the form of breasts and stop at the women’s knees – revealing their legs and feet. Their shoes are simple; a single line around their ankles indicate their presence. The figures are pictured across the width of the composition, a first one to the left, with her right foot partially hidden; a second one more towards the centre of the work but still very close to the figure on the left, with part of her right leg hidden by the first figure’s body. Both, although facing the viewer, look towards the left of the composition. The third woman is depicted on the right, above the man sitting in the foreground and looking to her left towards the right of the composition. Due to the direction and position of their feet indicate movement, it appears as though the figures are dancing towards the right of the drawing. Their bodies connect and are almost intertwined. They could be forming a circle with more figures outside of the frame, as indicated by their gaze which looks beyond that which is visible to the viewer.

The figure’s hair, shorter than the hair Frank usually draws on her female figures, stops above the shoulders and floats in the air, perhaps corresponding to the movement created by the dance. The field of grass and flowers begins the change behind the three women. The horizontal curvilinear lines discussed earlier are now becoming thicker and brighter and resemble the women’s strands of hair. This resemblance is emphasised by the sky directly behind the figures’ heads at the very top of the drawing – furthering the feeling of movement in which three birds begin to participate. Like in many of Frank’s artworks, the figures’ natures are reflected by their surroundings. ​​