The saleroom’s director Will Gilding said there had been no let-up over the summer this year: “People are moving, our stores are absolutely chock-a-block, and we have the demand to meet it.”
Among the picture lots offered in the Fine Art & Antiques auction on September 3, keen bidding emerged for a private consignment of prints and works on paper by an eclectic assemblage of artists such as from Edvard Munch to Ernest Shepard and Dr Seuss. The group were sourced over the last few decades from the UK and North American trade.
Munch and the bear
Bid to a top estimate £6000 by a private North European collector was a curious lithograph by Edvard Munch (1863-1944) titled The Woman and the Bear. The square 8in (20cm) work, which had cost the vendor £10,625 (with fees) seven years ago at Christie’s South Kensington, was created in a small edition of 15 in c.1908 to illustrate the mythical story Alpha and Omega. In this Adam and Eve-style tale, the lovers’ relationship falls apart when Omega is seduced by a bear.
Two limited-edition collotype prints by Austrian Modernist Egon Schiele (1890- 1918) were secured by a London based buyer at £2900, around double the top estimate. Schiele’s sexually explicit style has “limited appeal” but for those that admire his work these were “very typical” sketches, said Gilding.
Acquired from the American trade, the pair is believed to have come from the so-called handzeichnungen folio edition published two years after Schiele’s death in an edition of 510 by Verlag Eduard Strache.
An original drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet by Ernest Howard Shepard (1879-1976) attracted bids from five phone lines before it was knocked down at £6500 to a UK-based private collector. The winning bidder also shelled out £5000 for two sets of illustrated poems by Shepard and author AA Milne. A set of four modern limited edition prints on canvas after fellow children’s illustrator Dr Seuss (1904-91), variously estimated in the low three-figures, got away in line with expectations to a mix of local bidders.
The financial highlight of the picture section was an unframed 21in x 2ft 6in (53cm x 76cm) Russian oil showing a three-horse ‘troika’ team pulling a sled through the snow. Painted by Sergey Voroshilov (1865-1911), a relatively minor Russian painter who majored on genre and hunting scenes, it was consigned with a selection of Russian jewellery from a local family whose ancestors had owned a cotton mill business in Russia. A collection had been amassed during the last decades of Romanov rule. Estimated at £3000-5000, it was knocked down to a buyer in North America for £9000. “This was a good fresh to market work that ticked boxes left, right and centre”, said Gilding.