Wednesday, 5 October 2011
A Christmas gift for a loved one...?
Artwork that has been part of hotel tycoon's collection for almost three decades will be sold by Christie's in November
Monday 3 October 2011
A LS Lowry painting of Piccadilly Circus, part of hotel tycoon Lord Forte's collection for almost three decades, could fetch up to £6m when auctioned for the first time.
The artwork dating back to 1960 depicts the fountain topped by Eros in a different spot to its present location while red buses and scurrying figures abound.
It heads a list of 14 Lowry works from Forte's collection.
Lowry, most famous for matchstick figures against a backdrop of northern mill towns, painted two images of Piccadilly Circus, just months apart.
The earlier one – measuring 20 inches by 24 inches – set a record price for the artist in 1998, fetching £562,500.
The work to be sold by Christie's next month – as part of what is claimed to be the most important group of Lowry works to come to auction – is 30 x 40 and estimated at between £4m and £6m.
If it fetches its upper estimate, it would set a world record price for the artist's work. The current record is £5.6m for the Football Match.
His Piccadilly painting features ads for Coca Cola, Bovril, Max Factor, Gordon's Gin and Wrigleys on the famous hoardings overlooking the junction.
Another highlight of the sale is Fun Fair At Daisy Nook from 1953, depicting a Good Friday celebration for Lancashire mill workers. It is expected to go for up to £2m.
The sale also includes Saturday Afternoon, dating back to 1941, with figures enjoying themselves – playing football and cycling – at the weekend in front of an imposing factory building.
Forte, who died in 2007, built up his worldwide leisure empire after opening a milk bar on Regent Street, London, in 1935, at the age of 26.
Philip Harley, director and head of 20th Century British & Irish Art at Christie's in London, said: "This group offers Lowry collectors the opportunity to acquire a master work from this carefully composed collection, gathered by an eminent figure of the post-war British era."
The auction will be at the 20th Century British & Irish Art sale on 16 November.