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Sotheby's Three-Part Single-Owner Evill/Frost Sale Closes with Final Total of $69,343,051
Visitors look at Stanley Spencer's 'Workmen in the House' during a photo call at Sotheby's in London. AP Photo/Akira Suemori.

LONDON.- Sotheby’s London, on June 16th, 2011, the final session of Sotheby’s three-part Single-Owner Sale of the greatest collection of 20th-Century British ever to come to the market, The Evill/Frost Collection, closed with a final combined total of £42,484,639 /$69,343,051*, by far exceeding the pre-sale high estimate for the sale series of £19 million. The top lot of the sale series, with no fewer than five bidders vying for the painting, was Stanley Spencer’s Sunflower and Dog Worship, which sold for £5,417,250 / $8,852,870 (pre-sale estimate: £1-1.5 million**), achieving a new record for the artist at auction. With many of the works selling for multiples of their pre-sale estimates, the sale saw a total of eleven records set for artists at auction, in addition to the highest price for a work on paper by Lucian Freud. The entire sale series was 100% sold by lot and 100% sold by value.

Speaking about the sale, the Trustees of The Evill/Frost Collection said: “We are absolutely delighted with the terrific job which Sotheby’s has done with the exhibition and sale of Wilfrid Evill’s Collection. The whole handling of the estate has been immaculate. We were very lucky to have had Henry Wyndham as auctioneer, the best auctioneer in London. The results of the entire sale series pay full justice to the remarkable Evill/Frost Collection and the proceeds will benefit The Honor Frost Charitable Trust. Honor Frost was an esteemed marine archaeologist, and the trust was established to benefit charitable causes relating to marine archaeology.”

Henry Wyndham, Chairman Sotheby’s Europe and auctioneer for tonight’s sale, comments: “Never before, and never again, will a collection of 20th-Century British Art of the outstanding quality of The Evill/Frost Collection ever come to the market, and this has clearly been reflected in tonight’s fantastic sale results. The anticipation in the saleroom prior to the auction was palpable, and the enthusiasm with which bidders participated confirms the quality of the works offered and Wilfrid Evill’s remarkable eye. The Evill/Frost sale has proven to be a truly historic auction.”

Auction record for a work by Stanley Spencer RA
Sunflower and Dog Worship ranks as one the most important works by Stanley Spencer. James Rawlin, Sotheby’s Senior Director, Senior Specialist, 20th-Century British Art Department, said: “An undoubted highlight of tonight’s sale was the appearance of such an exceptional group of works by Stanley Spencer, one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century. A series of new benchmarks have been set at auction for the artist recently, demonstrating both the strength of the market in this field and a particular appreciation for the artist’s work. It is fitting that tonight’s group of seven of the very finest works by Spencer ever to come to the market by far exceeded the previous record for a painting by the artist in addition to establishing a new record for the artist twice in the same night, first with Workmen in the House, and then with Sunflower and Dog Worship fetching an even higher price.” An important painting of 1937, Sir Hugh Walpole purchased Sunflower and Dog Worship within just two hours of its exhibition in December 1937. Disappointed at having missed it, Wilfrid Evill was able to buy it from Walpole some seven years later for £100. The painting sold tonight for £5,417,250 / $8,852,870 (pre-sale estimate £1 – 1.5 million). Prior to this, Workman in the House had set a record for the artist, selling for £4,745,250 /$7,754,680 (more than double its pre-sale estimate £1.5 - 2 million). The seven works appearing in tonight’s sale raised a combined total of £23,016,750 / $37,613,974. A further 11 works by the artist will appear in the Evill/Frost Day Sale tomorrow.

Auction record for a work on paper Lucian Freud
The sale offered two stunning early examples of Lucian Freud’s exceptional ability as a draughtsman: Boat on a Beach, a 1945 work that records a trip Freud made to the Scilly Isles, sold for £2,617,250 /$4,277,110 / $4,277,110, significantly above the pre sale estimate of £400,000-600,000, the highest price at auction for a work by the artist on paper. Frances Christie, Sotheby’s Director, 20th-Century British Art Department, said: “It is testament to Wilfrid Evill’s exceptional eye that he bought these works by Freud so early in the artist’s career – years before the artist achieved fame.” Earlier in the evening the same artist’s Boy on a Sofa, drawn in 1944, was the subject of intense interest when it was competed for by nine bidders and sold for £1,497,250 /$2,446,806 far above the pre-sale estimate of £400,000-600,000.

Auction record for a work by Edward Burra
Edward Burra’s Zoot Suits - a rigorously urban image of life on the London streets depicting a group of men newly arrived from Jamaica in 1948 - attracted wide pre-sale interest and sold for £2,057,250, many multiples of its £250,000-350,000 pre-sale estimates. It was competed for by four bidders and set a record for the artist at auction. It broke a record set for the artist earlier in the evening when his The Common Stair, from 1929, sold for £881,250, far in excess of its pre-sale estimates of £150,000-250,000.

Further Artist Records Achieved in the Evening Sale

Lot 10
Sold for £713,250
Previous record: £481,250

Lot 11
Sold for £373,250
Previous record: $368,000 (£223,517)

Lot 12
DAVID JONES JULY CHANGE Estimate: £12,000-18,000
Sold for £32,450
Previous record: £23,750

Lot 14
Estimate: £15,000-25,000
Sold for £91,250
Previous record: £26,450

Lot 16
Estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000
Sold for £5,417,250
Previous record: £2,001,250

Lot 21
Estimate: £250,000-350,000
Sold for £2,057,250
Previous record: £490,000

Lot 26
JOHN SKEAPING POUTER-PIGEON Estimate: £10,000-15,000
Sold for £58,850
Previous record: $57,500 (£39,100)

Lot 27
Estimate: £250,000-350,000
Sold for £1,049,250
Previous record: £668,450

Further Records in the Day Sale

Lot 173
Sold for £1,063

Lot 180
JOHN CRAXTON GREEK WATER JUG Estimate: £25,000-36,000
Sold for: £181,250

Lot 184
Sold for: £13,750

Sale breakdown
• Evill/Frost Session I Total: £37,464,300 / $61,224,159
• Evill/ Frost Session II Total: £3,973,476 / $6,425,905
• Evill/ Frost Session II Total: £1,046,863 / $1,692,987

* Please note that Sotheby’s uses HSBC Bank Mid-Market Exchange Rate against Sterling which for today was 1GBP = 1.63USD

** Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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