Scottish Art Auction at Sotheby’s This Autumn

The second of Sotheby’s bi-annual Scottish Sales will take place in London on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 and it will bring to the market more than 150 works from many of the leading names in the field of predominantly 20th Century Scottish Art. The Scottish Colourists will feature strongly, as will Anne Redpath, Joan Eardley, Peter Howson and Jack Vettriano and the sale is estimated to bring in the region of £4 million. All of the sale’s offerings will be exhibited at Edinburgh’s Mansfield Traquair between Tuesday, September 15 and Thursday, September 17 and this exhibition is open to the public.

Samuel John PeploeOver the last decade or so Sotheby’s has dominated the field of Scottish art and last year its two Scottish Sales brought an impressive total of almost £9 million. Sotheby’s continues to hold two sales a year in the category and both sales are now staged in the company’s key saleroom in London’s New Bond Street. The move to London is the result of the increasingly international profile of Scottish art in recent years; since the beginning of 2008, for example, buyers from at least 15 different countries have participated in Sotheby’s Scottish Sales.

Commenting on the Scottish market and the forthcoming sale, Andre Zlattinger, Senior Director and Head of The Scottish Sale at Sotheby’s, said: “Following the success of our sale in April this year, we’ve once again assembled a quality and wide-ranging group of pictures for the September sale, which includes important paintings by many of the leading names in Scottish Art. We look forward to exhibiting them in Edinburgh between September 15-17. Sotheby’s is strongly committed to the Scottish market; a market in which we’ve achieved enormous success in recent years and we hope to build on our impressive track record by bringing Scottish Art to an ever wider audience through our sales in London.”

The Scottish Colourists regularly form the core of Sotheby’s Scottish Sales and this September is no exception. The Colourist group will be lead with arguably one of the finest still lifes by Samuel John Peploe ever to appear on the market. Painted in the early 1920s, the bold, vibrant composition – entitled Red and Pink Roses, Oranges and Fan – is rhythmic in arrangement and paintings of roses mark the epitome of Peploe’s still lifes of the period. In his still lifes around this time Peploe used colour at its highest pitch since his return to Scotland from a period in France in 1913. Red and Pink Roses, Oranges and Fan is estimated at £300,000-500,000.

A second still-life by Peploe – entitled Still Life of Roses with a Green Tablecloth – is estimated at £250,000-350,000. More than any other member of the Colourist group, Peploe was heavily influenced by the radical work of the Cubists and Fauves and he developed a way of painting that, with its bold and delineated tone, was closely akin to that of Cezanne; this is shown in the still life of roses. Also dating from the 1920s, this still life portrays the simple yet stunning qualities of colour and perspective in their purest form and it is among the most sophisticated and beautiful of Peploe’s paintings. Flower paintings were always Peploe’s first love. Luxembourg Gardens is another notable highlight among the Peploe offerings and it dates from his time in Paris in 1910. Peploe’s desire to live and work in Paris, and fully immerse himself in the beating heart of the modernist art world, greatly informed his work. His Paris scene is estimated at £80,000-120,000.

A large-scale streetscape of Vence in the South of France by George Leslie Hunter is set to be a further highlight of the Colourist group and it is among the most significant landscapes that he painted during his time in southern France. The painting captures the heat of the Mediterranean summer through Hunter’s use of hot reds and oranges set against a backdrop of dark green. The French Riviera was a theme of great inspiration for Hunter and the streetscape is thought to date from circa 1926 and is estimated at £150,000-250,000.

Two important works by Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell are entitled Lady Lavery in Black and Ben More from Iona. The first of these – a sophisticated and elegant portrait of Sir John Lavery’s wife, Hazel – was executed in 1912, during his greatest period of portrait painting when he depicted various patrons and their wives and children. Considered to be of exceptional beauty, Lady Lavery was photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue and she also featured as a model for Pond’s Cold Cream advertisements. The portrait of her is expected to fetch between £100,000-150,000.

Cadell first visited Iona in 1913 on a sailing trip with a friend and was immediately captivated by its remoteness and enchanting beauty. He served in the army during much of the First World War and during periods of leave would return to Iona on brief painting forays, which were a welcome sanctuary. The piece and simplicity of Iona offered Cadell a different lifestyle to that of Edinburgh. The view across the Sound from Iona to the island of Mull with Ben More in the distance was one which Cadell rarely painted; it was one that was more frequently depicted by Peploe. The colour of the water is a vibrantly depicted aquamarine and the light is fresh. The landscape is estimated at £100,000-150,000.

John Duncan Fergusson’s Swimmers near the Sea dates from the late 1920s and depicts the artist’s beautiful partner Margaret Morris. Fergusson found the naked form highly inspiring and produced a series of striking nudes throughout his career.

The sale will also be highlighted by works by Anne Redpath and Joan Eardley. Redpath is represented by a vibrant oil entitled Summer Gaiety which dates from 1947 and – with its expressive brushwork and harmonious explosion of vibrant colours – is a striking example of the artist’s mature style. Still life painting was particularly important to Redpath in the late 1940s and 1950s. Summer Gaiety is estimated at £80,000-120,000.

The Shore, Corrie, Arran, a seascape by Joan Eardley is estimated at £80,000-120,000. Eardley visited Corrie during the summer of 1942 and her unconventional method of painting during raging storms displays her fascination with wild seas and the visual grandeur of storms. The present work can be seen as an important precursor to the landscapes she painted a decade later for which she became so well known.

The ever popular Jack Vettriano will be represented by some 15 works, the most valuable of which is Bathers, which was exhibited at The Solstice Gallery in Edinburgh in August 1991 in the very same exhibition as two of the artist’s most iconic images, The Singing Butler and Mad Dogs. Bathers dates to the most significant period of Vettriano’s career and is expected to fetch £100,000-150,000.

Image: Samuel John Peploe, Red and Pink Roses, Oranges and Fan, 1920s. Estimate: £300,000-500,000. Photo: Sotheby’s

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