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Brian Sewell: ‘One of Christie’s most colourful characters’

Brian Sewell: Critic & Collector, the sale devoted to the renowned art critic, award-winning journalist and author, will take place at Christie’s in London on 27 September 2016

Brian Sewell (1931-2015), the renowned and controversial art critic, award-winning journalist and author, worked at Christie’s as a picture expert between 1958 and 1967, having graduated in Art History at the Courtauld Institute.

‘Brian Sewell was, undoubtedly, one of Christie’s most colourful and learned former colleagues,’ remarks Orlando Rock, Christie’s UK Chairman. ‘What always motivated him was his love of great art and its power to move and inspire, combined with his characteristic and acerbic wit.’

Acquired over many decades, approximately 200 lots from his collection, including important Old Master Paintings and Drawings and 19th and 20th-Century British Art, will be offered in Brian Sewell: Critic & Collector at Christie’s in London on 27 September 2016.

‘He evolved from a rather shy, cerebral art historian into one of the most famous and widely read British art critics of our time’

Providing a wealth of opportunities for new and established collectors across price levels, the works carry estimates ranging from under £1,000 to £600,000.

Matthias Stomer (c. 1600–after 1652), Blowing Hot, Blowing Cold. Estimate £400,000–600,000. This work is offered in Brian Sewell Critic & Collector on 27 September at Christie’s London

Matthias Stomer (c. 1600–after 1652?), Blowing Hot, Blowing Cold. Estimate: £400,000–600,000. This work is offered in Brian Sewell: Critic & Collector on 27 September at Christie’s London

Noël Annesley, Honorary Chairman of Christie’s UK, previously worked as Sewell’s assistant. ‘Brian was a young man of 27 when he joined Christie’s,’ he explains. ‘As his assistant, I got to admire him and to like him enormously. He evolved from a rather shy, cerebral art historian turned auction-house expert into one of the most famous and widely read British art critics of our time.’

‘Brian was a man whose opinions were sought not just on art but on a wide variety of topics, reflecting the exceptional range of his interests,’ adds Annesley. ‘He could be relied upon to provide witty and often devastating judgements. A wonderful instructor, serious but humorous too, he set a standard for us all.’

Daniele da Volterra (1509-1566), Dido Reclining, Asleep. Estimate £50,000–80,000. This work is offered in Brian Sewell Critic & Collector on 27 September at Christie’s London

Daniele da Volterra (1509-1566), Dido Reclining, Asleep. Estimate: £50,000–80,000. This work is offered in Brian Sewell: Critic & Collector on 27 September at Christie’s London

The Old Master Paintings and Drawings in the sale will include Brian Sewell’s much loved work by Matthias Stomer (circa 1600 after 1652?), Blowing Hot, Blowing Cold (estimate: £400,000-600,000); The Madonna and Child with Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Cosmas and Damian — a Bozzetto by Andrea Sacchi (1599-1661) (estimate: £50,000-80,000); Dido Reclining, Asleep by Daniele da Volterra (1509-1566) (estimate: £50,000-80,000); and Male Nude by Irish artist James Barry (1741-1806) (estimate: £20,000-30,000).

John Craxton (1922-2009), Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1946. Estimate £50,000–80,000. This work is offered in Brian Sewell Critic & Collector on 27 September at Christie’s London
John Craxton (1922-2009), Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1946. Estimate: £50,000–80,000. This work is offered in Brian Sewell: Critic & Collector on 27 September at Christie’s London

Modern British Art will include Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1946, by John Craxton (1922-2009) (estimate: £50,000 – 80,000), and a double-sided painting by Duncan Grant (1885-1978), Still Life, Charleston (recto) and Reclining Male Nude (verso) (estimate: £20,000-30,000).