Modern & Contemporary Art Sale Success | Record Prices Achieved

Modern & Contemporary Art Sale Success | Record Prices Achieved

Our 4 October Modern & Contemporary Art auction was a huge success, including Works of Art selling for new record prices at auction.

17 October 2022

The sale opened with a record price set for John Aldridge’s ‘Hayfield, North Essex’, which sold for a staggering £27,300. This large oil on board depicted a rural scene near to Aldridge’s home in Great Bardfield. With multiple bidders online and on the telephone, it re-iterated the artist’s increased following over the past few years and growing importance to Modern British collectors. Five other works by Aldridge also proved popular and another clear favourite was ‘Spring Flowers’, an exquisite still life, which achieved £10,400. Aldridge’s friend from the village of Great Bardfield, Edward Bawden, also performed well with his work on paper ‘The Rookery’ selling for £14,300.

John Aldridge RA (1905-1983) 'Hayfield, North Essex' signed 'John Aldridge' l.l., inscribed with title on artist's label verso, oil on board 76.5 x 115.5cm
John Aldridge RA (1905-1983), 'Hayfield, North Essex', signed 'John Aldridge' l.l., inscribed with title on artist's label verso, oil on board, 76.5 x 115.5cm, Sold for £27,300

The highest price in the sale was achieved for a portrait by Gwen John; after a heated period of bidding the final price of £58,500 sets a new auction record for a drawing by the artist. The sitter, Chloë Boughton-Leigh, was a close friend of John’s and here looks straight out at the viewer. Executed in pencil and watercolour, the muted tones of the portrait create a sense of melancholy that is often present in John’s work. Other examples by John of Chloë are held in the Tate Collection and Leeds Art Gallery. Not only did this picture’s excellent provenance allow it to be traced back to the artist but it was also offered as part of the Estate of Sir Jack and Lady Baer. Other top prices were achieved for pictures from this collection with an early Mary Fedden of Durham Wharf selling for £33,800, as well as works by Louis Valtat and Eliot Hodgkin, which reached £20,800 and £16,900, respectively. A stylish side profile by Vittorio Borriello, whose work rarely appears at auction, also climbed to £8,450.

Gwen John (1876-1939) Portrait of Chloë Boughton-Leigh, bust-length signed 'Gwen John' l.l., pencil and grey washes 20 x 15cm

Gwen John (1876-1939)Portrait of Chloë Boughton-Leigh, bust-length,signed 'Gwen John' l.l., pencil and grey washes, 20 x 15cm, Sold for £58,500

A notable auction price of £33,800 was achieved for a work by Australian abstract painter Roy de Maistre. De Maistre spent much of his life in Europe and the UK and was an important influence and guide to the younger Francis Bacon in the 1920s. This, along with another picture by the artist, had been gifted to the vendor as a wedding present by a family member who had first befriended De Maistre while living in Florence.

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968) Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968) A vase of midsummer flowers signed 'R. de Maistre' l.l., oil on canvas 99 x 73cm
Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968), A vase of midsummer flowers, signed 'R. de Maistre' l.l., oil on canvas, 99 x 73cm, Sold for £33,800

We were delighted to achieve significant results for Modern British names such as John Craxton, whose wartime gouache of a Welsh cottage reached £12,350. There was also much admiration for Frederick Gore’s sunny landscape of ‘Fornalutx, Majorca’, which sold for £14,300. Meanwhile, Francis Bacon proved as popular as ever and his signed lithograph ‘Portrait of John Edwards’ totalled £11,700.

We are now consigning for our Modern & Contemporary Timed Auction, with entries closing on 28 October. For valuations and sales advice, please contact our specialists. | 01279 817778





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