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LS Lowry painting bought for £5.6m


Catherine Wylie
Thursday 17 November 2011 09:53 GMT
Lowry's painting of Piccadilly Circus
Lowry's painting of Piccadilly Circus (PA)

A painting by LS Lowry has sold for £5.6 million at auction, matching a world record price for the artist.

The 1960 painting of Piccadilly Circus was sold at Christie's for £5,641,250 (including buyer's premium), matching the previous record for Lowry's work set in May 2011 with the sale of The Football Match, which also went for £5.6 million.

Last night's sale was also the joint highest world record in the category of 20th century British and Irish art, the auction house said.

The picture of the famous London landmark went under the hammer at the evening sale as part of a collection of 14 works known as The Lord Forte Collection of Paintings by LS Lowry.

Comprised entirely of oil paintings dating from the 1930s to the 1960s, the collection's stand-out piece was Piccadilly Circus, which was expected to fetch between £4 million and £6 million, and was purchased by a private buyer.

Lowry painted very few London scenes, and only two depict the capital's busy Piccadilly Circus. The earlier and smaller of which, dating to 1959, was a private commission. It was sold in June 1998 for £562,500, which was a record price for the artist at the time.

According to Christie's, the market for Lowry has never been stronger.

Philip Harley, head of 20th Century British & Irish Art at Christie's London, said 2011 marked an "unprecedented" year for this category at Christie's, in which £41,502,500 had been realised so far.

"This inaugural evening sale - which has set the highest total for the category at Christie's - clearly highlights the current market's insatiable appetite for the best 20th Century British and Irish Art and Christie's continued dominance in the field of LS Lowry," he said

"We are thrilled that Piccadilly Circus, London, 1960 - the star lot of the exceptional Lord Forte Collection of Works by LS Lowry - sold for £5.6 million, setting the joint highest price for the artist and the category."

The collection as a whole fetched £17,668,250, far exceeding the pre-sale estimate, Mr Harley added.

An exhibition of 38 paintings and drawings by Lowry opens on Wednesday at art dealer Richard Green's new gallery in Mayfair.

Mr Green said the Christie's sale demonstrated Lowry's popularity.

"To sell 14 paintings in one sale shows the breadth of his appeal - a painting by him is more expensive at auction than any Henry Moore sculpture or Damien Hirst painting," he said.


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