Bomberg's Spanish Masterpiece Tops Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art Sale

The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda by the British painter David Bomberg (1890-1957) sold for £790,750 at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale in London on Wednesday 18 November. Painted in 1935, it had been estimated at £400,000-600,000.

The sale made a total of £3,579,440 with 86% sold by lot and 93% sold by value.

Bonhams Director of Modern British & Irish Art, Matthew Bradbury said: "Bomberg moved to Spain in 1934 and it proved a turning point in his life and career. The Old City and Cathedral, Ronda represents the artist's response to the drama of his new home and the liberating light-suffused setting in which he was now working. It is a wonderful work which sparked a fierce bidding war on the phone and the internet and fully justified its very high selling price."
Other highlights included two works by William Roberts (1895-1980):

Women Playing with Cats, which has been dated to around 1919 and is testament to Robert's affiliation with Vorticism and his close acquaintance with fellow artists Percy Wyndham Lewis and David Bomberg. Sold for £325,250. (Estimate: £150,000-250,000).

• Robert's Munitions Factory was executed in 1940 as a preparatory sketch for the oil painting of the same name now in the City of Salford Museums and Art Gallery. It was the first of three works commissioned by The War Artists' Advisory Committee illustrating aspects of life on the Home Front. Sold for £200,250 (Estimate: £70,000-100,000).

Two works by Barbara Hepworth also attracted attention:

• Maquette (Variation on a Theme). Sold for £194,000. (Estimate: £70,000-100,000).

• Seated Figure and Reflection. Sold for £137,750. (Estimate: £70,000-100,000).

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