Friday - 31 October 2014

Lowry sets new Mod Brit high

31 May 2011Written by ATG Reporter

THE latest Modern British art sale at Christie's in London set a series of new benchmarks for the sector.

Not only did it it establish a record total for a Mod Brit auction, it also achieved individual records both for any Scottish painting and for any work in the category as a whole.

The latter was L.S. Lowry's (1887-1976) The Football Match from 1949 which was knocked down at £5m to a telephone bidder described by the auctioneers as a European private buyer.

Estimated at £3.5m-4.5m for the auction on May 26, the bidding opened at £2.6m and was taken up to £4.5m by London dealer Guy Morrison bidding in the room against another interested party on the telephone, who ended up as the underbidder.

The 2ft 4in x 3ft (71 x 91cm) oil on canvas had not been seen in public since it last sold at auction at Sotheby's in May 1992 when it made £120,000. It had since changed hands privately in 2000 for an unknown sum.

While numerous works by the artist appear at auction, very few feature football matches. The last Lowry painting with such a subject offered at auction was Going to the Match which made £1.75m at Sotheby's in December 1999 and was bought by the Professional Football Association.

The price for The Football Match beat the previous Mod Brit high which came in June 2007 when Lowry's Good Friday, Daisy Nook made £3.35m.

The Christie's sale also saw strong bidding emerge for The Crucifixion by Sir Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) which sold to London sculpture dealer Daniel Katz at a record £1.75m against a £1m-1.5m estimate.

A further record was set for Samuel John Peploe (1871-1935) when The Coffee Pot from c.1905 was knocked down at £800,000 to dealer and art adviser Susannah Pollen.

Although a low-estimate sum, the price beat the previous high for a Scottish picture - Jack Vettriano's (b.1951) The Signing Butler sold for £660,000 at Sotheby's in April 2004.

The overall hammer total at Christie's was £15.2m, greater than any previous Mod Brit auction.

By Alex Capon

A full report of the Mod Brit sales in London will appear in next week's Art Market in ATG's printed newspaper. To subscribe, click here.

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