London announced that it will offer for sale a group of Pictures from the Collection of Lord and Lady Attenborough on Wednesday, November 11, 2009. A Life In Pictures: The Collection of Lord and Lady Attenborough will comprise a fine representative selection of 20th Century British Paintings, including works by leading artists such as LS Lowry, Edward Burra, Ivon Hitchens, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland and Christopher Wood amongst others. In addition, the sale will offer a rare and desirable group of Christopher Nevinson prints of World War I. The approximately 50 lots are expected to realise in excess of £2 million.
Henry Wyndham, Chairman of Sothebys Europe, commented: We are extremely pleased to be offering for sale this remarkable group of paintings and prints from the collection of Lord and Lady Attenborough. The collection reveals both a personal and public journey through much of the best British Art of the 20th century and the quality of these pictures is true testament to the sophistication and discernment of these two collectors. There is no doubt that the emergence of these wonderful works on the market, with the illustrious provenance of such a well-loved and respected actor, director and producer as Lord Attenborough, will generate great excitement among collectors and connoisseurs alike.
Discussing the decision to offer for sale this group of 20th Century British Paintings and Prints, Lord Attenborough, said: 60 years ago my wife Sheila and I bought the house we live in to this day. We could not afford carpets or curtains, but more importantly for us we had a few pictures for our walls. Today, this passion has led us to the position of possessing more paintings than those walls can contain. We have loved and cherished these wonderful pieces throughout the course of our lives, but in all truth, art belongs to no one, some of us are simply its temporary, fortunate and delighted custodians. Now is the moment for us to pass on these ravishing images for others to treasure and enjoy.
The Collection illustrates the artistic currents in British art in the middle of the 20th century, while at the same time reflecting the experiences and interests of Lord Attenboroughs own career. Key British artists represented in the Collection each interpret the significant communal experiences of their day whether the Second World War, the lives of the working classes or the struggles and achievements of iconic figures of the 20th Century just as Lord Attenborough did through his work as a renowned actor, director and producer.
Among the masterworks in the collection is Old Houses by LS Lowry, a superb example of artists imagery that manages to be simultaneously nostalgic, theatrical and questioning. In the late-1950s and early-1960s, the new wave of British cinema brought the lives of the working classes to the fore and found an artistic parallel in the paintings of Lowry and during this period his works entered the collections of many in the dramatic worlds, such as Lord Attenborough, who remained a close friend of the artist for many years. Lowrys Old Houses is estimated at £300,000-500,000.