Fresh to the Market Quintessential Lowry Takes Top Spot at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale

London – Street Scene, an archetypal painting by L. S. Lowry, was the top selling lot at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale in London on Tuesday 22 November 2022. The painting, which had been in the same family for almost 50 years and was fresh to the market, sold for £1,002,300 having been estimated at £800,000-1,200,000. The sale made a total of £4,148,168.

Penny Day, Bonhams Head of Modern British and Irish Art, said: "In a strong sale, Lowry's Street Scene stood out. He was at the height of his powers when he painted the work in the early 1940s and it had all the elements that make his output from this period so attractive and desirable."

The sale also offered works by major names of Modern British Art in an outstanding private family collection of works from a Knightsbridge residence.

Highlights of the collection, which made a total of more than £1 million, included:

White and Green Upright: August 1956 by Patrick Heron (1920-1999). Just a few months before White and Green Upright: August 1956 was painted, the artist and his family settled at Eagle's Nest, in West Penwith five miles from the artists' colony of St Ives. Much of his work from the period draws on the rich outdoor landscape at Eagle's Nest. Sold for £195,600 (estimate: £80,000-120,000).

Recumbent Figure by Henry Moore (1898-1986). The piece is a maquette for the 1938 large green Hornton stone carving of the same name in Tate Britain which has come to symbolise modernity in 20th Century Britain. It represent one of Moore's earliest maquettes, and is one of the earliest instances of piercing the form, a highly important device the artist would frequently draw upon throughout his career. Sold for £189,300 (estimate: £150,000-250,000).

Forms in Space by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975). The drawing dates from the 1940s when Hepworth had settled in Cornwall with Ben Nicholson and their young triplets. Forms in Space is an important example of the inspiration that came to her from the sky, waves, and land that rolled through and around the Cornish peninsula. Sold for £88,500 (estimate: £80,000-120,000).

Among other sale highlights were:

Vanessa Bell in a Yellow Shawl by Duncan Grant (1885-1978). Sold for £327,900 (estimate: £50,000-80,000). This is a new world auction record for a work by the artist.

• Branksome Dene by Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965). Sold for £290,000 (estimate: £150,000-200,000).

• The Punters (The Punt) by William Roberts (1895-1980). Sold for £176,700 (estimate: £120,000-180,000).


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