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Sotheby's London sales of Modern & Post War British art realise a combined total of £7,719,650
William Roberts, The Chess Players, 1929-30, oil on canvas £1,161,250 (est. £300,000-500,000). Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art Evening and Day Auctions concluded today with a combined total of £7,719,650. The top lot of the Evening Sale was William Roberts’ oil on canvas The Chess Players, which sold, after an intense four-way bidding battle, for £1,161,250 - more than twice the pre-sale estimate and a record for the artist at auction. John Craxton’s Sleeping Fisherman sold for £277,250 (est. £100,000-150,000), another auction record. The Jerwood Collection of monumental sculptures made £654,200.

Frances Christie, Head of Department, Sotheby’s Modern and Post-War British Art commented: “These strong results reflect collectors’ determination to acquire rare and high quality works. The top lots in last night’s Evening Sale were fiercely contested and new records set for John Craxton, William Roberts and Frederick Etchells. In all, 42% of the works sold were for above estimate prices, which gives a good indication of the depth of bidding and level of competition in the sale room. Post-war works on paper also performed strongly, with a clutch of records in that medium for, amongst others, Leon Kossoff and Euan Uglow.”

Lara Wardle director of the Jerwood Foundation commented: “Although saddened to see the dispersal of the Jerwood Sculpture Collection, we are pleased with the results of today’s sale and delighted that the pieces, including works by some of the younger sculptors have founds homes in both national and international collections. Proceeds from the sale will be used towards future funding of the Jerwood Collection of 20th and 21st century paintings, now in the public domain and on view in the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.”

Auction Records Established During the Evening and Day Sales
• William Roberts, The Chess Players, £1,161,250. Previous record £457,250.

• John Craxton, Sleeping Fisherman, £277,250. Previous record £181,250.

• Frederick Etchells, Untitled Vorticist Composition, £103,250,000. Previous record £23,900.

• Alfred Wallis, St Ives Bay with Godrevy, £1450,250. Previous record £85,890.

Records for Artists’ Works on Paper
• Leon Kossoff, Head of Chaim, £64,850. Previous record £37,200.
• Euan Uglow Nude in the Quarry, £9,375. Previous record £5,000.



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