Bonhams Showcases 20th Century British Paintings and Sculpture

The best of 20th Century British Art comes to Bonhams New Bond Street on 18th November, showcasing an impressive array of paintings and sculptures, including The Art of Newlyn and St Ives.

Laurence-Stephen-LowryThe upcoming 20th Century British Art sale encapsulates a range of works from vibrant coastal scenes and character studies to a number of highly important and visually striking sculptures. One of the highlights of the sale is Sir Alfred Munnings’ (1878-1959), Meet at the crossroads which depicts a busy and colourful local hunt meet and the attending country folk. This painting is reflective of Munnings’ equestrian leanings and his experiences riding out with numerous East Anglian hunts. This stunning oil on canvas has a guide price of £50,000-70,000.

Amongst the sculptures on offer, is Princess Menen, a magnificent example by Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), estimated to sell for between £7,000 and 10,000. Both Princess Menen and her sister Princess Desta, the half-Belgian nieces of the Empress of Abyssinia, were sculpted by Epstein during a stay at London’s St Martin’s Hotel with their mother and small nephew, the young Johnny Halliday.

Further sculptural highlights include an iconic work by Dame Barbara Hepworth, (1903-1975) entitled Stringed form (estimate £20,000-30,000). This bronze cast of Hepworth’s earlier Sculpture with Colour, is notably small in size due to widespread post-war shortage of materials and the subsequent thrift mentality of the time.

Another notable lot is Dame Elisabeth Frink’s (1930-1993) Bird – the earliest of Frink’s sculptures to ever appear at auction, and thus expected to fetch an impressive £15,000-20,000. A topic of extensive debate, it has been suggested that the subject of Frink’s work is a raptor, however it seems more likely that the bird in question is in fact a raven and reflective of the artist’s inspirational trip to the Tower of London.

Alongside this, a number of outstanding works by Henry Moore (1898-1986) include Reclining Figure: Small head, a bronze sculpture expected to reach £10,000-15,000 and Two Seated Woman with Children, which demonstrates Moore’s fondness of family as a subject and his post-war focus on drawing, as opposed to sculpture.

Elsewhere, a selection of Laurence Stephen Lowry’s (1887-1976) celebrated work includes the pencil sketch, At the Seaside (estimate £10,000-15,000), the more industrial Rebuilding Rylands Library, Manchester (estimate £30,000-50,000) and Man Standing on steps; a single-figure study embodying Lowry’s notion that everyone has their own private undisclosed lives unbeknownst to others.

Matthew Bradbury, Bonhams’ Head of Modern British Art comments: “This sale illustrates the diversity of 20th Century British Art in general and we are excited to be offering more traditional works by the likes of Munnings and Lowry alongside post war examples by Kossoff and Auerbach. Furthermore, we look forward to building on last year’s success by incorporating a section dedicated to the art of Newlyn and St Ives.”