Recently authenticated works by War artist lead Modern & Contemporary British Art Sale
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Recently authenticated works by War artist lead Modern & Contemporary British Art Sale
Two Sketches of Theatre Performers, 1920. [Lot 99] Est. £600-800.

LONDON.- A group of early drawings by Walter Richard Sickert will join one of his last ever paintings in a sale of Modern & Contemporary British Art at Bloomsbury Auctions on Wednesday 26th November. Paintings by War Artist David Bomberg, Ivon Hitchens, Graham Sutherland and others will follow the Stanley William Hayter Painter-Printmaker sale in a day of auctions championing the strength and development of Modern & Contemporary British art. The sale will be held at Bloomsbury Auctions’ saleroom in London’s Mayfair.

Highly appropriate this year with the World War One centenary, is an important early group of recently-authenticated drawings by Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942). Too old to fight, Sickert lived through World War One as an honest, raw observer reporting an intense view of a world rebuilding itself after war in a more sinister manner than many of his contemporaries.

His career as an actor drew him to the theatre and this became a major theme of his artistic oeuvre. Sickert embraced these happy scenes, but imbued them with the horrors of war hidden out of sight. Heavily centred on this idea are these recently-authenticated drawings that illustrate the interiors of East End music halls. [Lot 99, Est. £600-800 and Lot 100, Est. £400-600]

The drawings were gifted to Andrina Schweder, the sister of Sickert’s second wife Christine Angus, after her death in 1920 and have, until now, remained in the family. A similar group of drawings from the same collections depicts singers, musicians and members of the audience that Sickert encountered in London’s music halls. The drawings relate closely to another group of sketches from 1922-3, with identical provenance that are now in the collection at the Tate. [Lots 101-104, Est. £600-800]

Vineyards, 1941, also by Sickert, is one of only ten paintings he produced in his final year after retiring to Bath in 1939 with his third wife Therese Lessore. The piece was purchased directly from the artist by famous music critic and friend of his, Cecil Gray. It has remained in the same private collection ever since [Lot 98, Est. £15,000-20,000]

Angus Maguire, Head of Modern and Contemporary at Bloomsbury Auctions said; “This important work is one of Sickert’s very last paintings in what was an extraordinary career as a painter, one that continues to influence some of the most celebrated artists today.”

From the same collection is Untitled (Still Life), c1948, by Adrian Heath (1920-1992) that is appearing at auction for the first time. The work is estimated at £6,000-8,000. [Lot 143, est. £6,000-8,000]

In the public eye this centenary year, alongside Sickert, is war artist David Bomberg (1890-1957). The impact of Bomberg’s experiences in the trenches during World War One permeates through his vibrant expressionistic style. The sale includes Bombstore, 1942, an oil on board from ‘Bombstore’, the seminal series of his career. During 1942 Bomberg was invited to paint the bomb store at one of the largest munitions stores in Britain, RAF Fault in Tutbury, Staffordshire. His wife Lilian was quoted saying; “I was a bit tearful…when I learned David not only got lost among the bombs, but I knew how curiously he climbed, slithered and slid among and over the piles to get the angle and form of interest.” The piece, estimated at £10,000-15,000, comes from the artist’s estate. [Lot 128]

Also in the sale by Bomberg is Portrait of Leslie Marr, 1953. The oil on canvas is signed and dated with an authentication inscription on the reverse by his wife Lilian Bomberg. Fellow artist Leslie Marr studied under Bomberg at the Borough Polythechnic and was a prominent member of the Borough Group, a group of artists that championed and exhibited Bomberg’s work. [Lot 129, Est. £5,000-8,000]

Elsewhere in the sale is an unusual mid-career piece by Ivon Hitchens expressing the transitional period that merges Hitchens’ figurative past with his abstract future. Reclining Figures II is estimated to achieve £30,000-40,000 [Lot 137].

Other notable works in the sale include Graham Sutherland Standing Rock Form, 1972 [Lot 144, Est. £20,000-30,000] and Alan Davie Tootbrush No.4, 1973 [Lot 154, Est. £6,000-8,000].

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