Sunday - 26 October 2014

Two cricket scenes that fared well at the crease…

16 June 2008Written by ATG Reporter

TWO very different scenes of cricket matches in progress sold recently at very different locations. The artists themselves could also hardly be more contrasting: Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) and L.S. Lowry (1887-1976).

Pissarro's Match de Cricket à Bedford Park turned up in Germany at Berlin's Villa Grisebach (19% buyer's premium) on May 30.

Although rather more associated with lily ponds, views of the Seine and Parisians relaxing in parks, Pissarro was a frequent visitor to British shores, paying regular visits to London where three of his sons lived.

He painted the cricket match on his last trip to London in 1897, while staying with his eldest son Lucian in nearby Stamford Brook.

It was not his only cricket canvas; he famously depicted a cricket match on Kew Green while staying there on a visit in 1892.

The first owner of the 21in x 2ft 2in (53 x 66cm) oil on canvas of the Bedford Park match was the banker and collector Jules Strauss in Paris, who sold it to the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1900.

In 1912 it was purchased by the famous Berlin art dealer Paul Cassirer.

Since the late 1940s it had been in the possession of a Berlin collector, and while it had been mentioned in numerous publications since then, it had not been exhibited in public since 1927.

The painting was offered at Villa Grisebach with an estimate of €250,000-350,000 and attracted international interest.

After extended exchanges between the telephones and the room, it was a London dealer, bidding against several overseas colleagues, who placed the winning bid of €1.275m (£1.01m).

Lowry was also not an artist automatically associated with cricket: he preferred football.

Like Pissarro, however, he did paint a small number of scenes of the sport like A Cricket Match from 1952 that was offered at Christie's (25/20/12%) 20th century British art sale on June 6.

The signed and dated 171/4 x 211/4in (44 x 54cm) oil on panel showed the game being played in a park with figures dwarfed by an industrial landscape.

For his cricket pictures, Lowry was known to take advice regarding fielding positions from his long-standing friend Alick Leggat, who was Honorary Treasurer of the Lancashire County Cricket Club.

This work had previously sold to the late Sir Paul Getty for £120,000 when it came up for sale at Sotheby's in London in November 1996 and was being offered for sale by his descendants.

Estimated at £600,000-800,000, it sold to the UK trade at £650,000.

The artist's Lancashire League Cricket Match: Crowd around a Cricket Sight Board sold at Christie's in November 2004 for a premium-inclusive £677,250.

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ATG Reporter

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