Untitled oil on board by Paul Feiler, £28,000 at Claydon Auctioneers.

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Consigned by a local private vendor who was downsizing and who also supplied a collection of Post-war silver that performed well, they were offered as separate lots at the two-day auction in Middle Claydon on February 26-27.

First up was an untitled oil on board that measured 2ft 2in x 18in (66 x 46cm). A fairly typical work from the 1950s-60s by the German-born artist who became a prominent member of the St Ives School, it was estimated £3000-5000. With six phonelines booked plus online bidding, it sold at £28,000 to a UK buyer.

The following Feiler lot was an acrylic on canvas titled Adyton III. It dated from 1972 and measured 2ft 2in x 2ft 4in (65 x 70cm).

‘Adyton’ means ‘innermost sanctuary’ in ancient Greek and refers to an inaccessible component of a temple – a subject that inspired Feiler to create a series of geometric compositions. Estimated at £3000-5000, this example sold at £5500 to a different UK buyer.


Adyton III by Paul Feiler, £5500 at Claydon Auctioneers.

How to explain such a difference in price?

Feiler’s output is often divided into two distinct phases each with a different price level.

First was his impasto-laden ‘tachiste’ canvases of the 1950s which are regarded as part of the European response to American abstract expressionism.

Then came his geometric compositions from the 1970s onward, usually flatter acrylic pictures which tend to command less money.

In terms of the two examples at Claydon, the former untitled work was therefore deemed the more desirable of the two as it was not just earlier but it was also, in the words of one of the bidders, “more emotive”.