PRESS RELEASE: British Pop Art To Lead Christie’s Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale 22 November 2017
London – Christie’s Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale on 22 November 2017 will be led by a focus on British Pop artists, including the last painting executed by founding member Pauline Boty, titled BUM (1966, estimate: £200,000-300,000), which will be offered for auction alongside work by her peers, and stars of the scene, Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney and Eduardo Paolozzi. The auction will also feature Beatitudes of Love 6: Consciousness (1938, £1,300,000-1,800,000), Sir Stanley Spencer painted this work during his failed second marriage to Patricia Preece. Further highlights include Henry Moore’s working model for the Time / Life building relief, a public commission still situated in London’s Mayfair: Time / Life Screen: Working Model (1952, estimate: £300,000-500,000) and L.S. Lowry’s Lytham Pier (1945, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000), which celebrates coastal Britain, the seaside escape that had become part of working class life and a Lowry family tradition. The evening auction will be followed by the Modern British & Irish Art Day Sale that will take place on 23 November 2017. The works will be exhibited at Christie’s King Street saleroom in London from 17 to 22 November 2017.
BRITISH POP ART
One of Pop Art’s founding members, Pauline Boty died prematurely at the age of 28, BUM is her final painting. Originally commissioned by theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, for his erotic cabaret Oh! Calcutta, it is a wonderfully vibrant piece painted in colours straight from the tube of paint. This ground-breaking work is presented alongside Study for $he by Richard Hamilton (1958, estimate: £120,000-180,000), from the collection of playwright and politician Benn and Constance Levy who acquired it directly from the artist. Peter Blake’s Little Lady Luck (1965, estimate: £600,000-800,000), from the collection of the artist, interior designer and restauranteur Michael Chow, depicts a purely imaginary character who exudes defiant self-belief and self-possession. David Hockney’s Big Stone (1962, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) straddles two key periods of his oeuvre, the ‘Love Paintings’ and the early sexually charged figurative paintings, which he painted soon after his move to California in 1964. This group of work is completed by Eduardo Paolozzi’s The Next War! (circa 1947, estimate: £80,000-120,000) in which the artist collated images of a post-war American Dream which, to many British people, still under rationing (which ended in 1954), were hugely impactful.
SIR STANLEY SPENCER
Beatitudes of Love 6: Consciousness (illustrated, page one) is the sixth in Spencer’s ‘The Beatitudes of Love series’, (1937-38), where he explored the relationships between couples, or ‘husbands and wives’. The series arose at a time of financial difficulty and personal isolation, when he was living alone in Cookham, following a divorce and the immediate failure of his second marriage. He withdrew into the realm of his pictures to set about celebrating the coupledom of which he was not a part. The picture is dominated by two figures, which are set against an uncharacteristically plain background. The man talks as the woman listens, their heads close together. Their bodies bend away from each other, setting up a rhythm that dominates the surface of the canvas. The work was acquired by the present owner from St John’s College, Oxford where it was displayed in the Junior Common Room.
Ben Nicholson’s career can be traced in the sale through the three paintings that mark distinct stylistic phases in his oeuvre. 1919 (Blue Bowl in Shadow) (estimate: £120,000-180,000) is one of his earliest works and demonstrates the traditional approach that he took to still life – the subject matter that went on to define his career. Unknown until its discovery in 1982, 1919 (Blue Bowl and Shadow) holds an unmistakable resemblance to paintings by the artist’s parents, Sir William Nicholson and Mabel Pryde. The 1930s marked an epoch of change for the artist who moved further away from the figurative and closer towards abstraction. 1933 (Bugatti 5 litres) (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) is both one of Nicholson’s final Cubist paintings and one of the finest works he produced during his most celebrated and formative period. Sept 62 (Lirkion) (estimate, £150,000-250,000) was created after the artist had moved to Switzerland, near Lake Maggiore amidst the changing landscape of the snow-capped mountains.
Lytham Pier (illustrated, left) depicts the bustling beach-scene common to British life during the 1940s while Church Street, Clitheroe (1964, estimate: £250,000-350,000) is a strong example of L.S. Lowry’s shift in subject matter from bustling street scenes with towering industrial buildings on the horizon, to paintings of individuals and small groups with little surrounding detail. In Procession in South Wales, Whit Monday, 1963 (estimate: £300,000-500,000), Lowry further develops the theme of people walking across an entirely open landscape. The Rent Collector (1922, estimate: £40,000-60,000) illustrates a scene that Lowry knew well from life, executed while he was working as a rent collector himself.
HENRY MOORE AND SCULPTURE
Leading the sculptures presented in the sale, Time / Life Screen: Working Model (illustrated, above) is an outstanding example of a three-dimensional artwork as an integral part of an architectural space and is the first of its kind to come to public auction. In addition, Helmet Head No. 1 (1950, estimate: £200,000-300,000) is among Henry Moore’s most dynamic sculptural explorations of the abstraction of the human figure while Mother and Child: Crossed Feet (1956, estimate: £150,000-250,000) shows a mother who holds her arm at a stiff right angle, emphasising the role of mother as the powerful protector, while the child appears enveloped in her tender yet forceful hold. Carved in 1925, Eric Gill’s Nude Girl with Hair (1925, estimate: £300,000-500,000, illustrated, right), property of the Meynell Family, was conceived while Gill and his family stayed in Capel-y-ffin, a remote village in the Black Mountains, on the border between England and Wales. It was here that Gill began to carve in stone, enjoying the directness of the method, where there was no intermediary between the concept and the final outcome. Another highlight, Nijinski Hare, (1986, estimate: £600,000-800,000) is one of Barry Flanagan’s most iconic and monumental sculptures, which typifies the sense of wit, humour and playfulness, he imbued on his figures.
Sean Scully, Howard Hodgkin, and Bridget Riley represent the diversity of artists practicing in Post-War Britain and brought together in the auction. Dominated by fields of warm terracotta and vivid golden yellows, the heat of Sean Scully’s Iris (2005, estimate: £500,000-800,000), is beautifully tempered by planes of deep black, and shimmering umbers. The painting is a mediation on light and shadow in a two-dimensional field. An early pentagonal canvas by Scully, inspired by his fascination with Morocco, East Coast Light 2 (1973; estimate £150,000-250,000) from the estate of Col. Alex Gregory-Hood, is also included in the sale. Bridget Riley’s Orpheus Study 14 (1978, estimate: £80,000-120,000) was gifted by the artist to the celebrated critic Robert Hughes and has been held in his collection ever since. It is an exquisite example of the gouache works on paper that lie at the core of her visual enquiries. Howard Hodgkin’s Roger and Margaret Coleman (estimate: £80,000-120,000) is a vibrant portrait of art critic Roger Coleman and his first wife Margaret. Painted in 1962 and exhibited at Hodgkin’s first solo exhibition at Arthur Tooth & Sons in October the same year, this work reflects the artist’s movement away from figurative portraiture, towards the more abstracted, expressive portraits that define his mature style. Frank Auerbach’s Tower Blocks Hampstead Road (2007, estimate: £500,000-800,000) is a shimmering, sunlit example of the artist’s rare late landscape paintings which demonstrates his love of London is as uncompromising and obsessive as his approach to portraiture.
MODERN BRITISH & IRISH ART DAY SALE
The Modern British & Irish Art Day Sale, will be highlighted by three further works by Richard Hamilton from the collection of Benn and Constance Levy including Microcosmos (circa 1950, estimate: £40,000-60,000). In addition, two paintings by Glyn Philpot from the Collection of Paul Slawson-Price will be presented as well as a portrait of the artist Mark Gertler by his friend David Bomberg (circa 1911-12, estimate: £10,000-15,000). Work by Elisabeth Frink, Keith Vaughan and Paul Feiler will be offered from the collection of the late architect Sir Denys Lasdun, the architect celebrated for his design of London’s National Theatre, and his wife Lady Lasdun.
Please view full catalogue HERE.