Titans of British art lead Bonhams Modern British and Irish art sale with an L.S. Lowry bought for four guineas in 1942

28 May 2014, Modern British and Irish Art

Bonhams next sale of Modern British and Irish art on 28th May includes an important Henry Moore work on paper and also an outstanding Lowry drawing.

The Laurence Stephen Lowry drawing in pencil, titled 'A Footbridge', signed and dated 1935, is estimated to sell for £70,000-100,000. The picture was acquired from the artist by Dame Mabel Tylecote in 1942 for four guineas.

A Guardian writer, Bernard Taylor, reviewing one of the artist's earliest exhibitions, commented: "Mr Laurence S Lowry has a very interesting and individual outlook. His subjects are Manchester and Lancashire street scenes...........We hear a great deal nowadays about recovering the simplicity of vision of primitives in art. These pictures are authentically primitive, the real thing not an artificially cultivated likeness to it. The problems of representation are solved not by reference to established conventions, but by sheer determination to express what the artist has felt, whether the result is according to rule or not...".

Lowry was always irritated by people who thought he was an amateur painter, self-taught and untutored. But far from being a naïve Sunday painter, Lowry was an artist looking for his own distinctive way of painting and drawing - and for a subject matter he could make his own.

Another significant work in this sale, titled Six Standing Figures by Henry Moore O.M., C.H. (British, 1898-1986), is signed and dated 1950. The work is in pencil, wax crayon, watercolour, and gouache and measures 40 by 60 cm. The picture which is registered in the Henry Moore Foundation as HMF 2855 is estimated to sell for £120,000 to £180,000.

At the end of his career, Moore, the son of a coalminer, was one of the world's most successful living artists at auction. His eight-foot bronze Reclining Figure:Festival that sold for a record £19.1 million helped to establish him as the second most expensive 20th Century British artist after Francis Bacon. His success brought great wealth but he continued to live simply and the money was used to endow the Henry Moore Foundation which promotes the arts.

Best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures, often female or mother and child forms, many have become public works of art. Often these works are pierced or have hollow spaces, providing a sinuous line which some arts commentators believe are linked to the landscape of his native Yorkshire.

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