COMPETITION between major collectors and new players in the market for L.S. Lowry saw a host of dramatic prices in London last week as Christie's offered 14 works from the collection of the late hotel magnate Lord Forte.
High expectations were riding on the group which was billed as
"the most important group of paintings by the artist to come to
auction" and, before the sale, there were some concerns that the
estimates looked rather punchy.
But with the artist's following on the rise and the fact that
Lowry is seen as an increasingly attractive investment opportunity,
any doubts were allayed at the evening sale on November 16 as 13
pictures sold for a combined hammer total of £15.4m against
predictions of £10.8m-16.2m.
The top taker was Piccadilly Circus from 1960,
estimated at £4m-6m. It was one of only five or six views of London
painted by Lowry. It came down to a battle between two telephone
bidders and was knocked down at £5m to a private collector.
The price equalled the record sum at auction seen for The
Football Match from 1949, which sold at Christie's in May.
By Alex Capon