LONDON - Sotheby’s announced its inaugural Made in Britain sale which will take place in London on the 1st April 2014. Celebrating the remarkable breadth of British creativity during the twentieth century, the sale will include works by established giants of Modern British art including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Bridget Riley, as well as photography, studio ceramics and furniture by some of the leading artists and designers of the period. In selling these works alongside one another, Made in Britain demonstrates the link between these often isolated disciplines and emphasises the crucial role that British artists and designers played in the development of international Modernism.
Lydia Wingfield Digby, Deputy Director, Modern and Post-War British Art commented: “We’re extremely excited to be presenting a sale that moves away from the traditional separation of collecting categories. In doing so we have been able to provide a context for the pieces offered and have highlighted how many British artists represented in the auction worked and continue to work across a range of mediums. Made in Britain pays homage to the astonishing surge of creativity that Britain experienced during the twentieth century when artists were responding to the changing world around them, challenging the conventional hierarchies and divisions between fine art, craft and design. The sale provides opportunities for new collectors to enter the market, with estimates ranging from £300 - £150,000 for works by some of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century.”
Celebrating the best of British painting and sculpture the sale highlights include works by L.S. Lowry, Barbara Hepworth, Elisabeth Frink, Ben Nicholson and Christopher Le Brun among others.
Laurence Stephen Lowry Self Portrait c.1925 pencil Est: £7,000-10,000
Painter of the North - Lowry is widely celebrated for his paintings and drawings capturing the realities of life in twentieth century Britain. This is one of four drawings in the sale, all gifted by the artist to their owners – a reflection of Lowry’s legendary generosity. In 2013 Lowry was the subject of the seminal retrospective Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life at the Tate.
Christopher Le Brun Marcus Curtius 1983 oil on canvas Est: £10,000-15,000
Christopher Le Brun is one of Britain’ leading contemporary artists and current president of the Royal Academy, London. Of special significance in the year of the horse and reflecting one of the most important themes in Le Brun’s oeuvre, this painting is among the finest examples of his work to be offered at auction.
Sculptures include works by seminal figures such as Barbara Hepworth, Elisabeth Frink, Lynn Chadwick and an important group of sculptures by Hepworth’s former studio assistant and leading St. Ives artist Denis Mitchell.
As printmaking technologies developed over the course of the century many artists turned to printmaking as part of their artistic production.
Richard Hamilton, Release (L. 83), 1972. Screenprint in colours with silver foil collage. Est: £15,000 – 18,000
Painter and collage maker Richard Hamilton began to focus on prints in the 1960s. Release, which is one of a group of important Hamilton prints in the sale, shows dealer Robert Fraser and Mick Jagger on their way to court after their arrest for possession of drugs. Highly documentary in tone, the work was intended as a political statement, encapsulating Hamilton’s anger at the reactionary state backlash to 1960s liberalism. Hamilton is currently the subject of a major retrospective at Tate Modern.
Lucian Freud, Bella (H. 30), 1987. Etching. Est: £12,000 – 18,000
Although recognised primarily as a painter and draughtsman, Lucian Freud’s printmaking was integral to his artistic process, as represented here by his etching Bella which would later become part of his most ambitious painting to date, Large Interior W11.
C.R.W. Nevinson, Column on the March 1917. Offset lithograph printed in colours. Est: £700-1,000
The sale also includes a group of prints by one of the most important British artists of the First World War, C.R.W. Nevinson. Given extra poignancy in this, the centenary year of the beginning of the First World War, these compelling images stand as a testament to the experience of thousands of young men who left these shores in the service of King and Country never to return.
Séverine Knackers, Head of Prints, Europe said: “There is a rich art historical tradition linking printmaking and painting but in the twentieth century the link was reinvigorated after centuries in which painting had been given a privileged status. What’s exciting about a show like Made in Britain is that by offering prints alongside painting, sculpture and other arts, we get a chance to re-examine this interdependence and I think gain a new perspective on the relationship between artistic disciplines in the twentieth century.”
The strength and ingenuity of British design is displayed in works by leading designers Ernest Race and Tom Dixon.
Ernest Race, Neptune Chair, designed in 1953 laminated wood, webbing and brass screws, with original cushion. Est: £4,000 - 6,000
Race was one of the most important mid-century designers and highly influential in the transition from pre-war modernism to a new contemporary optimism. Included in this sale, the Neptune chair is among his most distinctive designs; originally made for the P&O shipping company’s luxurious Orient line the chair achieves a remarkable balance between elegance of design and cost-effective economy.
Tom Dixon, Unique Planet Chair 1986. Frying pans, ball bearings and ladles. Est: £5,000 - 8,000
At the other end of the spectrum, Tom Dixon’s designs reflect the changing spirit of the 1980s. In 1985 Dixon founded ‘Creative Salvage’, a movement which promoted the use of recycled materials, creating works that reflect their urban inspiration and the youth subculture that was so dominant during that decade.
Chris Killip Rocker and Rosie Going Home, Seacoal Beach, Lynemouth, Northumberland, UK, 1984. Oversized silver print. Est: £6,000-8,000
Highlights of the sale include a group of lots by Chris Killip, most importantly an oversized version of his best-known image, Rocker and Rosie Going Home which was used as the front cover for his monograph In Flagrante.
Terry O’Neill, Sean Connery, 1971. Silver print. Est: £4,000-6,000
Terry O’Neill’s 1971 portrait of Sean Connery shows the James Bond actor posing in Las Vegas during the shoot for Diamonds Are Forever.
David Bailey Georgia on My Mind, 1990 mixed photographic processes and acrylic paint on canvas Est: £3,000-5,000
There is also a group of works by renowned celebrity photographer David Bailey led by Georgia on My Mind, 1990 a smaller variant of which has been included in the current National Portrait Gallery exhibition Bailey’s Stardust.
Discussing the sale, Sotheby’s Photographs Specialist Julia Girard said: “British photography was of central importance during the post-war period. Whether it was the realist images of Bill Brandt or Cecil Beaton’s glamorous photographs of high fashion and high society, photography was at the forefront of artistic experimentation and Made In Britain offers a unique opportunity to see these seminal works the wider context of British artistic production of the twentieth century.”
Studio ceramics also played a crucial role in the development of Modernism in Britain, with ceramicists breaking down traditional generic barriers by exhibiting their work alongside the paintings and sculptures of artists such as Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth.
Bernard Leach 'Pilgrim' Dish c.1965 stoneware with orange and brown iron glaze and stencilled design Est: £8,000 - 12,000
Bernard Leach was the founding father of the British studio ceramics movement. Inspired both by traditional British slipware, and the ceramics tradition of the East, Leach determined to overcome the established divide between ‘art’ and ‘craft’ in Britain and set up The Leach Pottery in St. Ives which laid the foundations for the astonishing growth of studio ceramics in the twentieth century.
Other highlights include a sgraffito flask and bowl by celebrated artist Lucie Rie, demonstrating the artist’s virtuosity in sgraffito decoration and two important works by leading contemporary ceramicist Magdalene Odundo. Odundo currently holds the record for a work by a living contemporary potter at auction which was set at Sotheby’s New York in 2011.