FOUND earlier this year in a house near Oxford where they were carrying out a probate valuation, auctioneers Mallams offered for sale this seminal painting Bravo! by C.R.W. Nevinson (1889-1946) on October 13.
The signed and dated 17½ x 23in (44 x 59cm) oil on canvas represented a crossover picture for the artist, nestling easily between his pre-War and wartime work. Painted in 1913, it depicts French troops on the move with figures cheering in the background and there are clear signs of the mechanical momentum and geometric structures that he developed in his Great War works.
Research found it was part of Nevinson's inaugural exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1916 (but its whereabouts since was unknown) and it appears that the late owner was a friend of the artist Vera Waddington (1886-1954), who probably knew Nevinson either from the Slade, Paris or their mutual connections with the Bloomsbury Group.
Offered for sale in untouched condition at Mallams Oxford saleroom, it attracted a number of potential buyers at its £25,000-35,000 estimate.
It came down bidding battle between a buyer in the room and a bidder on the phone, the latter proving successful at £130,000 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer's premium).