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Bloomsbury Modern British Art Auction

It was particularly the contemporary art which sailed out of the saleroom at Bloomsbury’s 20th Century British Art sale on 8th May.

The highlight was Sir Peter Blake’s Madonna of Venice Beach No. 2 (lot 169). It was the first time this witty and irreverent blend of renaissance and contemporary subject matter had come onto the market; it showed a girl in a swimsuit cycling past a Madonna and child under a palm tree on a beach. Estimated at £10000-15000 this brightly coloured oil on board eventually sold for £31200, double the higher estimate. It was interesting that all four of the Billy Childish paintings (lots 170-173) went for well over their estimates and once again, these works had never been sold at auction before. All were acrylic on canvas or board, all were Untitled and dated from the 1980s and 1996, with estimates ranging from £1500-3000 and each of these so–called ‘stuckist’ pieces sold for well above their higher estimates.

A brilliantly coloured painting apparently of his lover Tracy Emin vomiting (lot 172) made £7200 (estimate £1500-2000), while the next lot which was reminiscent of Munch, fetched £8400 against an estimate of £2500-3000. Lot 174 was Army of Occupation, by another anti-establishment artist, Jimmy Cauty. This mixed media on canvas was also from a private collection and sold for a resounding £16800, double its presale estimate of £6000-8000.

The moral of the story must be that Bloomsbury Auctions is the place to buy and sell ‘fresh to the market’, cutting-edge British art.

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