Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale will take place on 22 March 2022 and will be live and live-streamed to our clients globally.
Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale, taking place on 22 March 2022, will be led by Bridget Riley’s Gala (estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000), a pioneering painting from the artist’s curving-color series.
A rare seascape by L.S. Lowry will be presented alongside a village scene by the artist while a landscape by David Bomberg, The Bridge and the River Tajo, Ronda (1935, estimate: £850,000-1,200,000), depicts one of the artist’s Spanish landscapes. Sir John Lavery’s The Croquet Party (1890-93, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000) is a large-scale musing on the evolution of social and sporting interaction within society in the late 19th century.
Modern sculpture is represented in the sale with large-scale works by Dame Elisabeth Frink, William Turnbull, and Lynn Chadwick. In addition, Dame Barbara Hepworth’s Coré, (1960 estimate: £500,000-800,000) and Hollow Oval (January) (1965, estimate: £200,00-300,000) are presented.
Ben Nicholson’s October 1949 (Rangitane) (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000), created in 1949 for the New Zealand Shipping Company’s steamship the M.V. Rangitane, is showcased together with 1936 (white relief) (estimate: £1,500,000-2,500,000). His father, Sir William Nicholson’s painting Miss Simpson’s Boots (1919, estimate: £300,000-500,000) has been in the same private family collection for 80 years.
The Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale will take place on 22 March 2022 and will be live and live-streamed to our clients globally.
Angus Granlund, Head of Evening Sale, Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale: “Following the success of the 20/21 Shanghai to London series at the beginning of the month, the March season at Christie’s continues with the Modern British and Irish Art Evening and Day Sales.
The Evening Sale will be led by Bridget Riley’s captivating Gala from a seminal period of her career in the 1970s which saw her translate colour frequency to the canvas. Ben Nicholson’s October 1949 (Rangitane) and 1936 (white relief) harmoniously complement two exquisite sculptures by Barbara Hepworth from the 1960s.
Large-scale works by Dame Elisabeth Frink and Lynn Chadwick complete the sculptural selection in the Evening Sale. A rare, empty seascape by L.S. Lowry is seen alongside a musing on rural life in The Village Street. One of the most significant ‘Wrestler’ paintings by Sir Peter Blake, a previously unseen Frank Bowling ‘Poured Painting’ and a bold still life by Sir William Nicholson are further highlights. We look forward to welcoming our clients to the London galleries.”
Bridget Riley’s Gala (1974, estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000, illustrated top) belongs to a landmark series of curving-color paintings in which Riley made use of a sequence of gentle, wave-like curves of color to induce a variety of rhythmic ripples of chromatic sensation in the eye and mind of the viewer. Gala is one of the first of Riley’s paintings to attempt to tune the frequency of the color field into a controlled rhythm of form.
SIR JOHN LAVERY
Sir John Lavery’s rare painting The Croquet Party (1890-93, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000, illustrated above) powerfully showcases Lavery’s abiding interest in modern life, transforming a traditional group portrait into a dynamic composition that revels in the elegant fashions and pastimes of his subjects.
L.S. Lowry’s The Sea (1964, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000, illustrated below, left) was formerly on a long-term loan to the Abbot Hall, Kendal, and is being offered at auction for the first time. The Sea is understood to be one of only three large-scale empty seascapes that Lowry painted.
In the wake of his mother’s death in 1939, the sea also came to stand as a reflection of his own increased state of loneliness and of his sense of living through a landscape of aftermath.
Although Lowry is the poet of the industrial crowd, The Village Street, (1935, estimate: £1,000,000- £1,500,000, illustrated below, right) depicts a turn to a more light-hearted subject: the microcosm of a village community with shops and church, dwellings and children playing in the street.
SIR WILLIAM NICHOLSON
Sir William Nicholson’s Miss Simpson’s Boots (1919, estimate: £300,000-500,000, illustrated below, left) has been held in the same private collection since Lady Marjorie Stirling acquired it in 1942. It is a wonderfully original painting that wholly captures the artist’s handling of chiaroscuro and his unrivaled handling of the still life format.
The sale includes two exceptional works by Ben Nicholson, 1936 (white relief) (estimate: £1,500,000-2,500,000, illustrated above, center), was first exhibited in the ground-breaking Abstract and Concrete exhibition at Lefevre Gallery, London, in 1936, alongside works by Mondrian, Hepworth, and Miró.
October 1949 (Rangitane) (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000, illustrated above, right) is one of two large curved panels that Nicholson was commissioned to create in 1949 for the New Zealand Shipping Company’s newest steamship, the M.V. Rangitane. Hired by the architects working on the ship’s interiors, Easton & Robertson, Nicholson was the ideal person to create a modern and boundary-pushing work for this state-of-the-art passenger liner.
Sir Frank Bowling’s Untitled (1978, estimate: £100,000-200,000, illustrated above, left) is an example of his energetic, colourful and bold experimental works from his ‘Poured Painting’ series, created between 1973 and 1978. Untitled was a wedding present from the artist to the owners shortly after the work was painted in 1978, and this is the first time it has been shown to the public.
SIR PETER BLAKE
Sir Peter Blake’s Doktor K. Tortur (1965, estimate: £350,000-550,000, illustrated above, right) belonged for many years to the celebrated restaurateur, Michael Chow and his wife Eva. Wrestlers entered the lexicon of Blake’s art in 1961 as the comically hyper-masculine counterparts to the female strippers and pin-up images on whom he had already lavished his attention during the previous decade. Widely reproduced, this is one of the most important and recognizable works from the series.
David Bomberg’s The Bridge and the River Tajo, Ronda (1935, estimate: £850,000-1,200,000, illustrated left) depicts Ronda, at one point Bomberg’s Spanish home. He briefly lived in Spain in the 1930s, where he painted some of his most intense and accomplished landscapes. By 1935, the descent into violence in the country had become so alarming that he took a boat with his family back to London.
Lynn Chadwick’s Two Watchers V Third Version (1959, estimate: £350,000-450,000, illustrated above, left) is one of Chadwick’s most recognizable subjects, demonstrating the development of his sculptural practice from the linear form into figurative abstraction.
Barbara Hepworth’s Coré (1960, estimate: £500,000-800,000 illustrated above, right) makes a specific allusion to the ancient Greek ‘Kore’ (‘korai’ in the plural), the highly-stylized, freestanding sculptures of elegantly draped young women that were the female counterpart to the ‘kouros’ statues.
Conceived in 1978 (estimate: £500,000-800,000), Dame Elisabeth Frink’s Horse marks one of the most impressive equestrian sculptures of her oeuvre. The solitary life-sized horse stands tall and proud, with its ears pricked and long neck extended forward in a state of static alert.