Friday, March 19, 2010

20th Century British Art Continues to Make World Records at Bonhams

[Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959), "The Start, Newmarket" sold for £524,000. Photo: Bonhams]

LONDON.- Bonhams sale of 20th Century British Art once more exceeded expectations yesterday when it made a £2 million total and a brand new world record price for a Helen Bradley picture sold at auction, for £144,000.

Bradley (1900-1979), who started painting in her sixties, and died shortly before she was due to be honoured with an MBE, had previously commanded £97,000 as a best price at auction, said a delighted Matthew Bradbury, Head of 20th Century British Art at Bonhams. The world record picture titled "Blackpool Beach" a sunny image of bathers, had been estimated to sell for £70,000 to £90,000. Matthew Bradbury said that the sale had “produced strength across the board” with the 90 lots offered generally doing well.

Fourth highest price in the sale was for a recently discovered David Bomberg (1890-1957), "The Canal Lock" which sold for £84,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £30,000 to £50,000.

Other notable results from among the top ten in the sale included a beautiful picture by Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959) titled "The Start, Newmarket" that made £524,000; a picture by Sir Kyffin Williams (1918-2006) titled "Bull" performed strongly with a £50,400 price against a pre-sale estimate of £8,000 to £12,000.

There was also an "LS Lowry" (1887-1976) ‘Newtown’ which went for £43,200, and a Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) titled "Assassins" which made £62,400 having been expected to sell for £20,000 to £30,000.


Hels said...

Excellent - I love Munning's The Start Newmarket. Sometimes his horse scenes were too crowded out with fussy landscaping, but this time the landscape was very very stark.

But what is ALWAYS unknowable is the price that is fetched. What made the price of £524,000 reasonable and not, say £224,000? There may have been a world financial crash last year, but some ends of the market have held up very well.

Hermes said...

Thanks. I've always said to people that quality art will hold its value as it is a one off. I'm not a great fan of Munnings but I can see why this would sell well.