The 2ft 5in x 21in (74 x 54cm) oil on canvas was painted by Irene Lagut (1893-1994) and depicts the clown Pierrot. Lagut became Picasso’s mistress in 1916 and is believed to be the sitter in his famous 1923 canvas The Lovers. She mainly painted the heads of women, children and harlequins.
In original condition and inscribed to the verso in chalk Irene Lagut, 300 Francs, 15 - Dec - 27, it was secured by a private online buyer on thesaleroom.com against competition in the room for £1550, over three times the top guide.
James Forster, Halls’ auctioneer and picture specialist, described it as a “striking modern work… of interest to buyers because Picasso taught her how to paint, so this work must have his influence”.
Elsewhere in the sale, two Welsh views by Carey Morris (1882-1968) sold together for £2400.
The signed 18 x 22in (46 x 56cm) oils (one shown above) depict the historic Llandeilo Bridge and nearby Dinefwr Castle – spots that the Llandeilo-born Morris knew well. They were secured by a private Morris collector local to the Welsh area.
“This lot demonstrated to me the strength of a local market for a quality artist where there are many private buyers after his work,” said Forster.
One of Wales’ more obscure talents on the secondary market, Morris studied at the Slade in London before heading to Cornwall where he was inspired by the Newlyn School.
He was a contemporary and friend of distinguished British painters such as John Nash and Frank Brangwyn but a promising career was overshadowed by the First World War, which left him with lifelong health problems.
Although well represented in Welsh public collections, the artist has a limited auction track record – Art Sales Index lists around a dozen results since 2002.
A group of six sold at Rogers Jones in September 2017. Among them was a portrait of the Newlyn School pioneer Walter Langley (1852-1922) that was knocked down to an English buyer atw £6000.