The Vienna-born painter left her home city immediately after the Anschluss with Germany in 1938, arriving in England with her mother in 1939 where they would spend the rest of their lives.
Apart from several works in well-known public collections, including the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam and the National Portrait Gallery in London, the main body of her work – comprising portraits, still-lifes, landscapes and allegorical paintings – was kept together by the artist. As a result, Motesiczky does not have much of a track record at auction.
A rare opportunity to acquire one of the artist’s still-lifes arose in a Design and Interiors sale at west London saleroom Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) on February 26.
Pansies, a signed 12 x 16in (39 x 29cm) oil on canvas, came fresh to the market from a private collection. Against a £300-500 estimate, it drew interest from the Czech market before it was eventually knocked down to a buyer on thesaleroom.com at £5000.
The canal Canaletto
Another multi-estimate sum was achieved in the same rooms a week later on March 6 when a watercolour canal scene by Algernon Newton (1880-1968), the so-called ‘Canaletto of the canals’, took £12,000 against a £600-800 guide.
The 14 x 18½in (35 x 48cm) pen and brown ink and grey wash, Canal near Paddington, came from a private collection where it had been since the 1950s.
The drawing had been in the collection of Sir Edward Marsh who had acquired it from P& D Colnaghi. He had lent it to the National Gallery for an exhibition of 20th century British painting in 1940. Suzanne Zack, head of sale, British & European Fine Art at Chiswick Auctions, described the work as in “perfect untouched condition”.
It came in its original frame with all the provenance on the backboard.
“It was this provenance combined with the fine quality and subject matter of this example that attracted so much interest,” said Zack.