Among the recent sales indicating this boost may have persisted in the post-Covid market was the auction of an Adrian Berg (1929-2011) painting of Kew Gardens.
The 18in (46cm) square oil on canvas was signed on the back and dated 12th September 1984. It came up at Burstow & Hewett (20% buyer’s premium) of Battle, East Sussex, on July 21.
It was consigned by a local private academic who has been downsizing over the past year or so, and for whom the saleroom has sold quite a few varied and interesting items including Oriental and Indian artefacts which was his main field of interest.
This was the first picture consigned by him and the auction house understood that he bought it directly from Berg himself in 1984.
Parks and gardens were the favourite subject of the artist who was admired for his colourful and vibrant vistas. This picture was a prime example and the subject of Kew also gave it an extra commercial factor thanks to the popularity and fame of the botanical garden in south-west London.
Estimated at £1500-2500, it drew substantial bidding online and was knocked down at £8500 to a private collector on thesaleroom.com. The price was a record for Berg at auction, surpassing the previous high of €6200 (£5310) for Gloucester Gate that sold at an auction in Düsseldorf, Germany, in July 2021.
The buyer was described by Burstow & Hewett as “a modest private collector who started bidding at auctions during the lockdown”.
The saleroom added: “He bought the picture because he loved it and considers the artist’s work to be an affordable investment in Modern British art.”