Mahler
This bronze reclining figure, Liegende (lying), by Anna Mahler will be offered at John Nicholson's auction in Sussex on January 31.

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She is known for her larger-than-life figures and for portrait busts of eminent musicians and composers. Having lived in Austria, London, Italy and Los Angeles, it might seem unusual that one of her sculptures will now be offered at auction at John Nicholson’s of Fernhurst in Sussex on January 31.

However, this stylised bronze reclining figure, Liegende (lying), measuring 13in x 17¾ x 11¾in (33cm x 45cm x 30cm), came from the estate of the late Donald Mitchell (1925-2017), the musicologist, critic and founder of Faber Music.

Mahler champion

A former school teacher, Mitchell became the founding professor of music at Sussex University in the early 1970s and lived in both London and Sussex. He was a champion of Gustav Mahler as well as a close adviser of Benjamin Britten.

John Nicholson’s is offering this work with a £10,000-15,000 estimate.

Born in Vienna, Mahler (1904-88) was the younger daughter of the composer. It is believed she learnt about art from artist Oskar Kokoschka, with whom her mother had a relationship with after the death of her husband Gustav.

Sculptures by Mahler have sold at a number of auctions across Europe in recent years. Her top-selling artwork, according to Blouin Art Sales Index, was in 2013 when a larger plaster work called Liegender (1968) sold for a premium-inclusive £35,117 at Im Kinsky in Austria. A year later, a sculpture of the head of Austrian composer Arnold Schonberg (1951) sold for a premium-inclusive £6450 at Lempertz Auction House in Cologne in Germany in 2014.