LONDON - Never before seen in public, Outside the Factory by L.S. Lowry (est. £200,000 — 300,000), is a painting that showcases one of Britain’s best- known and best-loved artist at his very finest. The painting encapsulates the central themes of Lowry’s work, portraying both work and play in a single composition that is brimming with activity. The scene provides a snapshot of the world of the factory-worker with terraces and mills occupying the same space, and the very public theatre of everyday life played out on in the streets of the early 1950s.
Frances Christie, Head of Sotheby’s Modern Post-War British Art Department said: “Outside the Factory showcases L.S. Lowry at his very best, presenting the themes for which the artist is known so well. This painting has never before been seen in public, and as we saw with the sale of A.J. Thompson’s collection of works by Lowry at Sotheby’s earlier this year, the market responds with great enthusiasm to works that are fresh to the market - particularly when they are offered at auction for the first time, as is the case with this painting.”
The work was a gift from the artist to John Rowe Townsend, who designed and produced the Manchester Guardian Survey of Industry, a 1953 publication that discussed the rise and fall of local industry which was illustrated with another painting by the artist. Lowry presented Townsend with his painting Outside the Factory to express his gratitude for a profile Townsend wrote on the artist for The Observer, on the occasion of his election as an Associate member of the Royal Academy in 1955.
The cover lot of the Post-War & Modern British Art Evening Sale
The theme of ‘Mother and Child’ sustained Henry Moore throughout his career – from his very earliest carvings through to the last, great flourish of monumental sculptures, of which Henry Moore’s Working Model for Mother and Child: Block Seat (est. £400,000-600,000), is one of the finest examples. The work was owned by Sir Georg Solti - one of the greatest conductors of the late 20th Century – who had met Moore on the QE2 in the 1970s. From this point the two men became firm friends, and Solti and his family would stay with Moore and visit his studio. On one visit Moore is said to have consulted with Solti’s then eight-year-old daughter as to where the baby should be positioned for his Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby. As Moore wrote in 1979, the theme was ‘one of my two or three obsessions, one of my inexhaustible subjects. This may have something to do with the fact that the "Madonna and Child" was so important in the art of the past and that one loves the old masters and has learned so much from them.
The Collection of Eugene and Penelope Rosenberg
A leading exponent of modernist architecture in Britain following the Second World War, Eugene Rosenberg (1907 - 1992) was one of the rare and pioneering architects to commission the very best contemporary artists of the period such as Henry Moore, William Scott, F.E. McWilliam, Naum Gabo and Paul Feiler to create site specific artworks for his firm’s architectural designs. Unlike many architects who felt that works of art were a distraction from the building itself, Rosenberg believed fundamentally that art was part of the enjoyment of everyday life and that all buildings - schools, hospitals, airports and community centres - provided perfect spaces in which to house art and sculpture. Rosenberg’s architectural firm was responsible for a number of the most innovative projects in post-war Britain, including Gatwick Airport, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and the Manchester Magistrates Court. Highlights from the group of the nine works featured in the Evening Sale (further works feature in the day sale) include William Scott’s Table Still Life (est. £200,000 – 300,000) and Frederick Edward McWilliam’s Eve (est. £70,000 – 100,000).
A rare painting by Patrick Heron
From a key point in the artist’s development when he was emerging as one of the most experimental abstract artists working in post-war Britain, Patrick Heron’s Vertical Blue and Indigo: 1962 (est. £250,000 – 350,000) stands out as the encapsulation of his dynamic exploration of colour.
The Collection of Tim Ellis, 19th November 2014
Featuring a highly personal and eclectic mix of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints and ceramics works, the breadth of the collection conveys the central tenet of Tim Ellis’ philosophy on collecting – to buy what he loved, based purely on appeals to his emotions and sense. The lots comprise of works ranging from £50 to £120,000 – not only providing a fascinating inside into creativity in Britain in the 20th century, but also furnishing the perfect opportunity for a new buyer’s first foray into Modern British collecting.
An artist admired by Ellis from the early stages of his career was painter Ivon Hitchens, though it was the artist’s later works that Ellis sought for his collection. English Parkland (est. £60,000 - 80,000) was painted when the artist was seventy years old. Thus, the work encapsulates Hitchens’ control of visual language - his ability to blend the figurative and the abstract into a seamless expression.
A further wonderful example of Hitchens’ experiments in the principles of abstraction is Wooded Hollow (est. £50,000 - 70,000). Once again, nature is the principal source of his inspiration yet Hitchens moves away from naturalism, instead absorbing the influences of the cubists, fauves and abstract impressionists to conjure a unique vision of space.
A number of works from the oeuvre of Keith Vaughan (1912 – 1977) will be offered at auction, amongst which are The Bar II (£80,000 - 120,000) and Poalgoazec (Finisterre) (est. £40,000 - 60,000). The monochromatic and murky palette of The Bar II evokes notions of melancholy and isolation – poignantly drawing the viewer in as another figure waiting to be served. In Poalgoazec (Finisterre), Vaughan once again uses his tough, uncompromising style to convey the dramatic landscape he discovered in his travels in Brittany after the war.
The work of sculptor George Kennethson (1910 – 1994) is currently undergoing a revival in interest, as the integrity and quality of his stone carving is being recognised – with four of his works to be offered at this sale. His artistic vision is defined in its dedication to ideas of modernist primitivism and constant engagement with material.
His works are formal representations of archetypes found in the everyday yet their quiet, formal beauty elevates them towards a transcending statement. The Traveller (est. £5,000 - 7,000) is an embodiment of this. The sculpture simultaneously gives the impression of an ordinary passer-by, whilst also symbolising the eternal wandering that has defined human existence from the earliest times.
The sale also offers the opportunity to purchase ceramics notable for their sculptural qualities. These include works by Abdo Nagi (1941 – 2001), such as Large Vase (est. £200 – 300), and Small Water Sack (est. £50 – 70) by Peter Hayes (b. 1946).