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Record prices achieved for great British artists, including record price for a portrait by L.S. Lowry
Father and Two Sons by L.S. Lowry, oil on canvas, dated 1950 (pre-sale est. £1.5-2.5m). Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby’s sale of Modern & Post-War British tonight was led by L.S. Lowry’s Father and Two Sons – an outstanding painting considered to be the most important of Lowry’s portraits. Painted in 1950, this timeless glimpse into street life fetched £1,625,000 (pre-sale estimate £1.5-2.5m). Father and Two Sons came to the market from the collection renowned Manchester-born collector Frank Cohen, and was previously owned by Monty Bloom, Lowry’s key patron of the later part of his career.

Speaking about the painting prior to the sale, Frank Cohen commented: “I've always championed Modern British art and I passionately believe that Lowry ranks alongside other great painters like Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. I'm not alone in that opinion – I recall being in the Wolseley, London, when I spotted Lucian sitting at his usual corner table. We'd known each other over the years and got talking. One of the questions I posed was ‘who are your favourite artists?’ to which he replied, without hesitation, ‘Auerbach and Lowry’. And Freud knew a thing or two about painting as we all know…

I bought Father and Two Sons back in the late 90s as a present to myself after selling my DIY business. It was a lot of money at that time but I couldn't resist as it had always reminded me of the very first job I had after leaving school at 15. I worked for Perring’s Furniture stores, which was run by Abi Stolberg and Louis Rosenblatt, as the 'tea–boy' in the offices, earning £2, 14 shillings and seven-pence a week. When the boss used to arrive at work - he was the clerk of the company - he'd walk in every morning with his bowler hat on, flanked on either side by two minders with winged collars. That image stayed with me forever until I found this Lowry.

This is a painting that reminds me of my youth, but I’m now getting on in life so I’m thinking of the future. I've always said that if I was blessed with a grandchild I'd leave it to him or her, but I now have three grandchildren and I can't divide the painting up, so I feel that after nearly 20 years it's the right time to part with it and enable someone else to appreciate it as much as I have.”

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