Monday - 20 October 2014

Nevinson sets another record and Tschudi linocut has its debut

19 December 2013Written by Alex Capon

There was a new record for a work on paper by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889-1946) at Bloomsbury on December 11.

The sale in London's Maddox Street offered La Guerre des Trous (The War of Holes), which came from a UK vendor who had bought it in the 1970s. The same source had previously yielded another high-value Nevinson wartime sketch, On the Road to Ypres, which took £90,000 in the same rooms last December.

Here the 6 x 7¼in (15 x 18cm) signed pen and ink drawing was estimated at £80,000-120,000 and, on the day, attracted interest from a number of interested parties before being knocked down at £110,000 to London dealers Osborne Samuel.

Gordon Samuel told ATG that it would appear at the September show they are planning to tie in with the release of a new book on Nevinson which the gallery are co-publishing with Lund Humphries.

La Geurre des Trous itself was a study for a larger painting to which it relates very closely. From 1914-15, it shows French soldiers positioned in the trenches and dates to a period when the artist was a member of the Friends' Ambulance Unit, possibly when he was based for two months at Woesten, just north-west of Ypres.

London Scene

The sale also offered a later Nevinson print, The Thames from Blackfriars, which again attracted a strong following before selling to Osborne Samuel.

The 15 x 19¾in (38 x 50cm) signed etching and drypoint from c.1927 came from a separate source, a corporate collection which has been selling works through Bloomsbury over the last 18 months.

Although numbered 16/60, Bloomsbury's head of department Alexander Hayter felt that possibly only half of the planned edition of 60 was actually printed. Nowadays, The Thames from Blackfriars is among the rarest, as well as being probably the largest, of Nevinson's prints.

No copy has been seen at auction for at least 20 years and, being a richly inked impression in excellent condition, it overshot a £15,000-20,000 estimate before selling at £32,000.

View of Venice

A copy of Roy Lichtenstein's (1923-97) relief print Two Nudes (c.284) from 1994 sold for a low-estimate £100,000, but among the better-performing British works was a rarely seen Lill Tschudi (1911-2004) linocut. In fact, no auction records could be traced of The Band at St Mark's Square.

Signed, titled and numbered4/50, the 14¾ x 9in (38 x 23cm) print was consigned by a Swiss vendor who had had bought it from the artist's estate. How many impressions exist is uncertain (probably only a handful), but it is likely that Tschudi produced the image as part of her series of prints on this scale featuring some of Europe's great cities (including Paris and London).

Estimated at £7000-9000, this was a scarce opportunity to acquire a copy of this print. With three phone bidders in contention, it was taken to £22,000 at which point it was knocked down to a private collector from New York.

The buyer's premium was 24%

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