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
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
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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