A painting of a well-known location in Manchester by L.S. Lowry (1887-1976) led the latest sale of Modern & Post-War British Art at Sotheby’s.
One of the more lucrative works offered at the first part of the auction - a specially selected group of 28 lots appearing at an evening sale on June 10 - the picture entitled Station Approach, Manchester had not been seen in public for over 20 years.
Signed and dated 1960, the view of one of Manchester's historic landmarks, the London and North Western Railway Exchange Station, ticked all the right boxes in terms of the commercial factors that can make a Lowry worth over £1m.
Measuring 2ft 6in x 3ft 4in (76cm x 1.02m), the oil on canvas was a relatively large urban panorama with large numbers of figures (as well as cars and dogs). The railway connection may also have raised its appeal.
The painting was first exhibited in the artist's sell-out 1961 exhibition at Lefevre Gallery in London, although Lowry created a smaller version of this painting in 1962 to present to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, on being made a Royal Academician.
However, consigned to auction from a UK private vendor who had purchased it at Crane Kalman in the late 1980s, the estimate was set at £2m-3m. Lowry has only made over the lower end on a handful of occasions and here there was no bid beyond the low estimate.
It was knocked down at £2m to an anonymous buyer.
Overall the evening and day sessions raised a hammer total of £6.81m with 86 of the 117 lots (74%) getting away.