Sotheby’s to Auction Important Works on Behalf of the Beaverbrook Foundation

. November 13, 2010 . 0 Comments

Sotheby’s is to offer important old master paintings, modern British art and other works from the collection of 20th-century press baron and business tycoon Lord Beaverbrook in a series of auctions in both London and New York through January 2011. The highlight of the collection is Claude-Joseph Vernet’s A Grand View of the Sea Shore Enriched with Buildings, Shipping and Figures, a monumental canvas depicting a peaceful seascape at sunset (est. $1.5/2 million*). The work will be offered in the New York auction of Important Old Master Paintings on 27 January 2011. Proceeds from the sales will go to benefit the Beaverbrook Foundation, a charitable organization.

Lord Beaverbrook
The Canadian-born press baron, business tycoon and politician Lord Beaverbrook moved from New Brunswick to London in 1910, where he quickly set to work building a newspaper empire. Already the owner of the London Evening Standard, Beaverbrook bought a controlling interest in the Daily Express in 1916 for £17,500. By the end of World War II, he had turned the failing enterprise into the largest-selling newspaper in the world. A noted collector and philanthropist, he established the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in 1958 in New Brunswick. The prestigious gallery boasts works by major Canadian and international artists, including Turner, Gainsborough, Constable and Dalí. The 48 works from the collection which were allotted to the Foundation in a settlement earlier this year will be sold on behalf of the Beaverbrook Foundation.


George Stubbs, A.R.A, Viscount Gormanston’s White Dog. Estimate £300,000 – 400,00

Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale – London, 8 December 2010
The sale series begins with George Stubbs’s portrait of Viscount Gormanston’s White Dog, offered in the December 2010 Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale in London (est. £300/400,000). Stubbs remains arguably the world’s greatest animal portrait painter. His paintings of dogs in particular demonstrate his exceptional ability to portray an owner’s treasured animals, and such portraits rarely appear on the open market.

Viscount Gormanston’s White Dog was commissioned in 1781 by the 11th Viscount Gormanston of Gormanston Castle (County Meath, near Dublin), one of only two Irish patrons of the artist. Gormanston Castle was the seat of the Preston family–the bearers of one of the oldest titles in both Britain and Ireland–until around 1950. Gormanston so dearly treasured this painting and so eagerly awaited its arrival that his agent Michael Hornsby not only sent specific instructions for a case to be made for its shipment from London to Ireland, but also informed Gormanston precisely of when it was to be delivered to the Custom House in Dublin. Painted during a period of considerable significance in the artist’s life, soon after he had been made an associate member of the Royal Academy, the dog is captured on a large scale as a finely groomed, lean, fit and alert animal. The painting was purchased by the 1st Lord Beaverbrook in 1951 and has since passed by descent.

Modern British Art – London, 15 December 2010
The Beaverbrook Foundation Property includes a fine selection of 20th Century British pictures and sculptures, from artists including Sir Stanley Spencer and Edward Burra. Spencer’s The Garden, Port Glasgow was born out of the artist’s ongoing interest in the Scottish town and its inhabitants (est. £100/150,000). Spencer spent several weeks in Port Glasgow in 1940 working on a successful commission for the War Artist’s Advisory Committee. He found the atmosphere of the shipyard and the strong sense of community congenial, reminding him of the close-knit world of his native Cookham. It was on one of his later trips to Port Glasgow that he painted The Garden.

Bold, passionate and dramatic, Burra’s The Entry into Jerusalem is a testament to the artist’s mastery of crowds and drama (est. £100/150,000). Inspired by the contemporary political affairs during the Cold War, the painting belongs to a remarkable series of biblical scenes executed by the Modern British artist at the beginning of the 1950s.

Victorian & Edwardian Paintings – London, 16 December 2010
The Beaverbrook Collection includes two fine Victorian paintings by eminent artists of the period: Thomas Faed’s When the day is done (est. £100/150,000) and William Quiller Orchardson’s The Duke’s Antechamber (est. £30/50,000). Faed is well known for his rustic scenes of everyday Scottish life, and he was immensely popular with the Victorian viewing public. The present work shows a rural Scottish family preparing for their evening rest after a hard days labour, and the scene is enriched with a level of visual and narrative detail that attracted a vast crowd when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1870. Narrative force and technical dexterity can also be seen in The Duke’s Antechamber by Orchardson, a relatively early work by the artist painted at a time when he was seeking critical acclaim. When the picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1869, it was regarded as Orchardson’s best work to date.

Important Old Master Paintings – New York, 27 January 2011
The highlight of the works sold to benefit the Beaverbrook Foundation is Claude-Joseph Vernet’s A Grand View of the Sea Shore Enriched with Buildings, Shipping and Figures, a monumental canvas that marked a significant commission for the artist (est. $1.5/2 million). The spectacular work will be offered in the New York auction of Important Old Master Paintings on 27 January 2011. William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, later 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, who was already a notable collector, commissioned a pair of grand views from Vernet in 1774 for a substantial sum. The size was to be comparable to the Ports of France, Vernet’s most important paintings, though the artist had not attempted a picture on the same scale since. A Grand View of the Sea Shore presents a serene seascape at sunset. The work is signed and dated 1776, and was later in the collection of Robert, Earl Grosvenor.

Category: Fine Art

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