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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Moore the merrier in London

British sculptor’s work is the highlight of an impressive fortnight of Mod Brit auction activity

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AMID ongoing speculation and uncertainty over the effects of Brexit on the art market, Modern British art has emerged as one of the strongest and most dynamic categories of the summer. Records have tumbled and millions of pounds have changed hands.

More than a fortnight of Mod Brit action across the ‘big three’ culminated in Christie’s 250th anniversary sale Defining British Art, held on June 30, exactly a week after the EU referendum.

The mixed-category sale, which also contained key works by artists such as Constable, Reynolds, Bacon and Freud, was topped by Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture Reclining Figure: Festival at £22m – a British sculpture record. The sale also achieved records for Lyn Chadwick and Bridget Riley, while a Barbara Hepworth sculpture made over £3m.

The results were the cherry on the cake for the category which has enjoyed a buoyant month. Two weeks earlier, in mid-June, Bonhams, Sotheby’s and Christie’s (all 25/20/12% buyer’s premium) had offered five dedicated evening and day sales in the capital. The auctions showcased a range of works by some of Britain’s most sought-after artists, ranging in price from a few thousand pounds to over £1m.

Results were strong with high sellthrough rates of around 80% and a healthy combined total of over £32m (see results table opposite). Although Christie’s provided over half this total from its two sales, Sotheby’s surpassed their highest total for an equivalent offering since 2007 and Bonhams posted their highest-ever result in this category.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.