Modern British Art Evening Sale on 21 January 2020 launches the 20th Century auction series in London and will be followed by the Modern British Art Day Sale and The Delighted Eye: Works from the Collection of Allen and Beryl Freer on 22 and 23 January respectively. Highlights from the Evening Auction include Henry Moores Square Form, a rare surreal sculpture from 1936 (estimate: £3,000,000-5,000,000) and a recently discovered painting by L.S. Lowry. Bought directly from the artist and remaining in the same collection since then, The Mill, Pendlebury (1943, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) has never been seen in public. Hero II (estimate: £350,000-450,000) by William Turnbull was created in 1958 and included by David Hockney in his portrait of the collectors Fred and Marcia Weisman, American Collectors (1968). One of three sculptures included in the composition, Hero II is being offered from the Collection of Richard L. Weisman. The Evening Auction will also feature early Modernist paintings by Ben Nicholson, John Piper, and Richard Lin alongside the Vorticists David Bomberg, William Roberts and Lawrence Atkinson. Two paintings by Howard Hodgkin from The Jeremy Lancaster Collection continue to illustrate the collectors careerlong support for the artist.
The Modern British Art Day Sale, taking place on 22 January, will feature a selection of Modernist sculpture by artists including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Elisabeth Frink. A series of postcards written by Lucian Freud to his then-girlfriend Felicity Hellaby provide intimate insight into the artists life and are offered with an estimate of £4,000-6,000. Further highlights illustrate the close relationships that existed between artists in London with Leon Kossoffs Dalston Junction (1974, estimate: £60,000-80,000) which he gifted to Frank Auerbach in the 1970s and works by Peter Blake and Auerbach which were gifted to Joe Tilson.
The Delighted Eye: Works from the Collection of Allen and Beryl Freer on 23 January features 80 works spanning British art throughout the 20th century. Allen Freer not only amassed a collection of 350 works altogether, but he wrote extensively on artists whose work he acquired, publishing volumes on John Nash and Keith Vaughan.
Created in 1936, Square Form emerged during one of the most dynamic and experimental periods of Henry Moores career, as he began to marry the doctrines of truth to materials with the highly stylised languages of abstraction and surrealism. The form is marked by a constellation of subtle depressions, incisions and protrusions, that are at once organic, and yet rooted in a distinctly geometric vision. This great rarity comes to auction for the first time and was acquired from the artist in the mid-1950s.
The Mill, Pendlebury by L.S. Lowry is being offered from the estate of Leonard D. Hamilton, a medical researcher who played a key role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. Hamilton grew up in Manchester and received his medical degrees from Balliol College, Oxford and a PHD in biochemistry from Trinity College, Cambridge. He received The Mill, Pendlebury as a gift from his parents when he was at university. Hamiltons parents acquired the painting directly from Lowry shortly after it was painted in 1943 and it has not been seen in public until now.
Hero II (1958, estimate: £350,000-450,000) embodies William Turnbulls individual approach to sculpture that imbues his work with a timeless ambiguity. The work underlines Turnbulls aversion to artistic hierarchy, drawing upon archaeological artefacts to achieve advanced contemporary abstraction.
Constructed and painted in 1935, Forms on White Ground (estimate: £200,000-300,000) combines John Pipers earlier explorations into collaged landscapes with his more recent abstract three-dimensional constructions. Painting Relief 27.7.64 (1964, estimate: £150,000-250,000) shows Richard Lin marrying his painstakingly slow layering technique with the pure, machine produced material of Perspex. Seemingly flat and uniform in colour, the subtle textural and impasto variations emerge on closer inspection. Ben Nicholsons 1934 (White Relief) (estimate: £300,000-500,000), one of only 12 white reliefs produced by Nicholson between 1933-35, embodies Nicholsons most pure modernist abstraction and is being offered for the first time since 1979.
BOMBERG, ROBERTS & ATKINSON: THE VORTICISTS
Executed circa 1919, The Wiring Party (estimate: £100,000-150,000) by William Roberts depicts the dangerous missions in World War I that took place in no mans land. These precarious missions would take place under the cover of darkness and Robertss simple pared back palette in the present work reflects this. Although he never went to art school, Lawrence Atkinson benefited immensely as a painter from his early involvement with music. Vorticist Composition (1914, estimate: £100,000-150,000) sees Atkinson move away from the Fauvism that had previously been an influence and move towards an almost pure abstraction comprised of minimal elements, influenced by Vorticism. Executed in 1913, David Bombergs Family Bereavement (estimate: £80,000-120,000) is a profoundly intimate and intense consideration on the subject of mourning, following the death of his mother the previous year.
A pioneer of British Art, Matthew Smith was deemed both the English Fauvist and a modernist portraitist. Connie Martin (1915, estimate: £100,000-150,000) exemplifies Smiths arresting use of colour and his manipulation of traditional compositions.
THE JEREMY LANCASTER COLLECTION
A group of work by Howard Hodgkin, spanning seven decades of the artists work, was at the core of Jeremy Lancasters remarkable assembly of twentieth-century art. In the Middle of the Night (1996, estimate: £120,000-180,000), held for over 20 years in The Jeremy Lancaster Collection, is a painting that transforms memory into a blazing, jewel-like object.