Largest work ever sold at auction by British artist Ben Nicholson sells for £1.08 million
Date: 12 Jul 2013 | | Views: 1445
Ben Nicholson's critically-acclaimed Oct 61 (Mycenae-axe-blue), just sold for £1,082,500 (est. £1-1.5 million). Photo: Sotheby's
LONDON - Tonight, at Sotheby’s London’s Modern & Post-War British Art Evening Sale, the largest work to come to auction by esteemed British artist Ben Nicholson, his critically-acclaimed Oct 61 (Mycenae-axe-blue), just sold for £1,082,500 (est. £1-1.5 million). Appearing at auction this evening for the first time, the painting was previously a highlight of the Tate’s celebrated 1964 exhibition Painting & Sculpture of a Decade, 54-64. This magisterial abstract work is on the scale of his Festival of Britain commission and akin to his celebrated work that forms part of Tate Britain’s recent rehang. Truly monumental in scale - measuring four and a half metres across – it is a seminal piece from the years Nicholson spent in Switzerland, a period described as the ‘Indian Summer’ of the artist’s career.
Frances Christie, Head of Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art Department, said: “Sotheby’s is privileged to have brought this outstanding work to sale, which represents one of the most important works by Ben Nicholson ever to appear on market. Our exhibition this week presented the work to the public for the first time in Britain since 1964, and the price achieved for the work in tonight’s auction undoubtedly reflects the global recognition for one of Britain’s most esteemed artists.”
Oct 61 (Mycenae-axe-blue) was first purchased in New York in 1966 by the American industrialist and social activist Joseph Irwin Miller. A philanthropist and patron, Miller gifted the work later that year to the Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis. Proceeds of the sale of the work will benefit CTS’s programmes relating to religion and the arts, which form part of the seminary’s distinctive and enduring mission.