A collection of unseen Henry Moore (1898-1986) working proof prints stole the show at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints yesterday, Thursday 27th March.
From the collection of Moores master printer Michael Rand, the original work from the late 1970s and early 1980s included the watercolour & charcoal design that was the basis of the etching Highwire Walkers (1975).
Moores love of the circus is well documented in his notebooks, and resulted in a series of drawings of tightrope walkers and acrobats that are unlike the drawings relating to his sculpture. Likened to the work of Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, the work records his interest in the physical form required for these two very lively activities, and are markedly different from his life drawings, where the human figure is more commonly represented in a reclining pose. This animated design, sold together with an impression from the third state, to a private collector of important 20th century works on paper for £14,880. [Lot 172]
Alexander Hayter, International Head of Contemporary Art at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions said: We are very pleased with the result achieved for Highwire Walkers. It was an absolute pleasure to handle this collection where every variant plate gave us a wonderful insight in to the level of preparatory work that made Moore such an expert printmaker.
A second work by Moore, Head of a Girl Sectional, was sold together with the original acetate transfer, the 'Bon a Tirer' impression, signed and inscribed by the artist before the plate was trimmed, and four progressive proofs of the plate, one inscribed 'State 2' in pencil, and an impression from an abandoned plate previously unrecorded by Patrick Cramer in his catalogue of Henry Moore's graphic work. The lot sold for an impressive £8,060. [Lot 147]
Elsewhere in the sale, a selection of work by British abstract artist and printmaker, Sir Gordon Howard Eliot Hodgkin CH, CBE (b.1932), sold well. The first, a signed and dated coloured lithograph entitled For Bernard Jacobson, was printed and hand-coloured by Alan Cox and Don Bessant at Sky Editions, London, published by Bernard Jacobson Ltd., London. Dedicated to the art dealer and publisher, Bernard Jacobson, the print was one of the first to be produced on the same scale as the artists paintings. Portraying the view of India at night from a balcony, the print is said to be one of Hodgkins most complex prints as each sheet of paper was hand-dyed and then interleaved with layers of printing. It sold for £5,580. [Lot 417] The second of the two works, In an Empty Room, sold for £7,440. [Lot 418]
As paintings by L. S. Lowry sell for millions, prints of his work offer a more affordable option for collectors and investors, and two Lowry lithograph prints proved to be highlights of this sale. One of Britains most famous artists, known for his distinctive style of depicting urban landscapes, Lowrys work has an enduring and timeless quality and the two examples in the sale, Tree in the Square (1969), and Village on a Hill (1966), sold for £4,500 and £4,800 respectively. [Lots 76 and 77]