On the evening of June 18th, Sotheby’s presented their Modern & Post-War British Art sale in London. This was a rather small sale and overall, they did ok.
Taking the top spot was L.S. Lowry’s A Cricket Match which brought £1.16M ($1.45M) on an £800-1.2M estimate. The work was last on the market in 1996 when it sold for £282K ($435K) … so there was a nice profit for the seller. In second, they had a small work on paper by Henry Moore titled Shelter Drawing: Seated Mother and Child, that commanded £855K ($1.07M) on a £600-800K estimate. This same work sold in 2011 for £635K ($1M – guess the Pound was a lot stronger then and hopefully the seller was British, so he actually turned a small profit). Taking the number three slot was a small Ben Nicholson titled Still Life (Speckled) March 18 – 49 that made a fairly strong £639K ($803K) on a £400-600K estimate. Rounding out the top five were Euan Uglow’s Beautiful Girl Lying Down at £338K ($424K – est. £300-500K) – now here is an artist we all should have bought, since back in 1993 this same painting was offered at a Christie’s South Kensington sale (their low-end auction room) with a £1-1.5K estimate and sold for a pretty strong £22K ($33K) … even so, not a bad return. And then there was Barry Flanagan’s Acrobats (a bronze featuring two anorexic rabbits) which made £294K ($369K – est. £150-250K).
There were a few works that failed to garner any interest; among them Edward Burra (£200-300K), Reg Butler (£120-180K), Euan Uglow (£120-180K), Walter Sickert (£80-120K), and a couple by Patrick Heron (£400-600K and £100-150K).
At the end of the short session, of the 29 works offered, 21 sold (72.5% sell-through rate) and the total take (with premium) was £5.7M ($7.17M) … the low end of their estimate range was £4.97M/$6.25M (without premium).
On June 19th, they followed up with the Day Sale which added a few more Pounds into the kitty. Here, only three works top the £100K mark – Ben Nicholson’s Dec. 59 (Sunion) at £163K ($204K – est. £100-150K), Ben Nicholson’s 1956 (Cloverleaf) at £112.5K ($141K – est. £30-50K), and Sir Peter Blake’s Goldfish at £106K (£134K – est. £30-50K).
Of the 111 works offered in this session, 79 sold (71% sell-through rate), adding another £2.55M ($3.2M). When combined, the two sessions brought in £8.25M ($10.37M) from 100 sold lots giving them a 71.4% sell-through rate.