held a stand-alone evening sale of 15 paintings by one of Britains best-loved artists, L.S. Lowry, at 6pm on 25th March 2014. The A.J. Thompson Collection, was estimated to fetch in excess of £15 million, includes well-known masterpieces that have previously been exhibited in the Tates highly acclaimed retrospective in 2013, amongst many other museum shows. A.J. Thompson who only collected artworks by Lowry and no other artists - bought his first painting by the artist at Sothebys in 1982. His focus and extraordinary eye for the best compositions by Lowry enabled him, over the course of three decades, to put together one of the greatest collection of the artists work in recent history. Encompassing some of the artists most iconic works - including the only two paintings of Piccadilly Circus that the artist produced, one of which stands as the highest priced work by the artist at auction* - the collection also reveals Thompsons insight and rare instinct as a collector for this well-known but often misunderstood artist.
Frances Christie, Sothebys Head of Modern & Post-War British Art Department comments, We are delighted with the results of tonights sale, which reflect the superb quality of the works that Tony Thompson collected so carefully over the course of three decades. His instinct to hone in on the very best examples of the artists work generated the enthusiastic response in the sale room. Underlying this evenings success was notable international bidding for an artist who is typically considered to have a particularly British appeal. We saw participation from clients not only across Europe but also the US, demonstrating the widespread demand for this remarkable artist. These were collectors who were buying in this collecting category for the first time, as well as clients who were familiar to us but buying their first L.S. Lowry work. Tonights result is testament Tonys passion for L.S. Lowry and his talent in assembling such an extraordinary collection.
Speaking about L.S. Lowry, Frances Christie comments, The recent major exhibition at Tate curated by T.J. Clark and Anne Wagner, Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, helped to reposition the artist within a much wider artistic context, dispelling popular assumptions that he only depicted a very simplified view of England. In fact, he was a fantastically accomplished artist who turned his remarkable skills of observation and representation to creating some of the most complex and visually compelling images of modern life painted in the 20th Century. His work captured a fast-disappearing way of life in Britain, one that is more familiar in some of the worlds emerging economies today.