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Lowry, Hepworth, Nicholson, Spencer & Frink lead Christie's Modern British and Irish Art Sale
Sir Stanley Spencer R.A (1891 – 1959), The Scarecrow, Cookham, 1934. Estimate: £1,500,000-2,500,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2014.

LONDON.- Christie's announced details of the Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale which will take place on 25 June 2014, during the same week as the Impressionist and Modern Art sales, highlighting the cross-over between collectors in these categories. Featuring 49 lots, the auction presents stellar examples of 20th century British sculpture and painting including three paintings by L.S. Lowry, led by Industrial Panorama (estimate: £1,500,000 – 2,500,000) and an important painting by Sir Stanley Spencer entitled The Scarecrow, Cookham, (estimate: £1,500,000 – 2,500,000). The strong selection of modern sculpture is led by Figure for Landscape by Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) (estimate: £1million – £2million) and two bronze sculptures Seated Man, by Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930 – 1993) (estimate: £400,000 – 600,000), and Sitting Couple on a Bench by Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) (estimate: £700,000 – 1,000,000).

The Modern British and Irish Evening Sale as a whole features works with estimates ranging from £50,000 to £2,500,000 and is followed by the Day Sale on 26 June, which comprises 124 works starting at just £3,000. The two days of sales will provide a rich array of opportunities for new and established collectors at a wide range of price levels, encouraging active engagement in this important and accessible category.

L.S. Lowry's Industrial Panorama (estimate: £1,500,000 – 2,500,000) is offered alongside The Mill (estimate: £800,000-1,200,000) which was purchased by the present owner's father directly from the artist in 1961 and Early Morning (estimate: £600,000- 800,000). These highly evocative industrial compositions continue to be in strong demand, particularly following the 2013 exhibition „Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life‟ at Tate Britain. Each work is a prime example of the artist's fascination with the architecture of the city and portrays dominant industrial structures such as arches, factories and mills, with their countless windows and tall, smoking chimneys, which seek to reduce the figures to a teeming mass of humanity.

Painted in 1934, Sir Stanley Spencer's painting The Scarecrow, Cookham provides a clear indication of the artist's personal style based on direct observation of the familiar British landscape (estimate: £1,500,000 – 2,500,000). This work is an accurate portrayal of the garden at Rowborough, a large house in Cookham. Painted en plein-air, a hanging scarecrow dominates the canvas, dividing the composition into rough quarters. Fascinated by this figure, the artist recalled in notes made in 1938: “It was like watching a person slowly changing into a part of nature. And I liked the feeling of it always being there… in the evening he faded away like a gleaming Cheshire cat”. Discerning collectors will recognise the significant interchange between Man of Straw and Son of Man. Resembling a crucified figure, this Christian implication was made explicit when the artist was commissioned later in 1934 to paint a crucifixion. It is this Crucifixion which was sold at Christie's in May 2011 for £2,001,250, breaking the then world record for the artist at auction, most recently surpassed by Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta: Conversation Between Punts, which fetched £6,018,500 in November 2013. Widely exhibited in the UK, The Scarecrow, Cookham, comes with excellent provenance having been acquired directly from the artist in 1934, and subsequently passed on by descent to the present owners.

Conceived in 1959–60, Dame Barbara Hepworth's monumental bronze Figure for Landscape was made during one of the artist's most productive periods and demonstrates one of her most successful techniques of establishing a relationship between the hollow and solid (estimate: £1million – £2million). Cast six from an edition of seven, Figure for Landscape is the first example of Hepworth attempting the process of wrapping the armature in plaster, which had dictated that the hollow cast bronze be made in two parts, ultimately demonstrating the artist's ability to push the boundaries of materials. This work is being offered by the Kunsthall Stavanger in Norway, which acquired the work in 1968. It is being offered for sale in order to raise necessary funds which will safeguard the future of the institution. Four other editions of the work, including the artist's proof, are currently held in the following public collections: the San Diego Society of Arts (5/7), the Hirshhorn Museum and the Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (2/7), Exeter University (4/7) and Tate (0/7); three others are in private collections.

Further sculpture highlights include the monumental works by Dame Elisabeth Frink and Lynn Chadwick. The lifesize bronze sculpture Seated Man by Dame Elisabeth Frink (estimate: £400,000-600,000) was commissioned by the present owner and conceived in 1983 and cast in an edition of 4. Sitting Couple on a Bench by Lynn Chadwick, was conceived in 1990 and cast in an edition of 9 in 2001 (estimate: £700,000 -1,000,000).

The sale also comprises a strong group of works by Ben Nicholson, led by 1945 (still life with mugs) previously in the collection of his great friend and patron, Helen Sutherland (estimate: £500,000-800,000). Other notable works include the property from the estate of the late John Craxton, featuring works by Lucian Freud, Arshile Gorky and Craxton himself. These are offered alongside White Magician by Alan Davie (estimate: £70,000-100,000) and Blue Lake and Sky by Ivon Hitchens (estimate: £50,000-80,000), originally from the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation, which are presented by The Foundation for Essex Arts Ltd., a charitable body, with the intention of creating an endowment for the benefit of arts students from Basildon and Essex, to be administered by the University of the Arts, London.

The Modern British and Irish Day Sale will feature Blue Pot and Three Pears by William Scott (estimate: £60,000-80,000), in addition to four works by William Scott, Ben Nicholson, Howard Hodgkin in the evening sale, all of which are being offered from the Collection of Rudolf and Leonore Blum, who acquired the works at Galerie Charles Lienhard, Zurich. Further highlights include Conglomerate by Graham Sutherland, (estimate: £80,000-120,000) and Wiltshire Landscape by Eric Ravilious (estimate: £80,000-120,000).

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