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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

The Robert Devereux Collection of Post-War British Art for Sotheby’s Auction

Sotheby’s London announced that on Wednesday, November 3 and Thursday, November 4, 2010 it will present for sale The Robert Devereux Collection of Post-War British Art.

The two-day single-owner sale of approximately 400 lots will offer a collector’s unique vision of the innovation and diversity that has characterised British Art over the last 60 years: beginning with the work of the ground-breaking British artists active in the years immediately after the Second World War and also including examples by a new generation of artists who are still working in Britain today. Prices will range from £100 to £350,000 – making the sale accessible to all – and the sale is expected to total in the region of £4 million. The proceeds of the sale will go towards the founding of The African Arts Trust, a charitable organisation that Mr Devereux is in the process of establishing and which will be devoted to supporting the arts in Africa.

Mr Devereux, a former partner in Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, has been an art aficionado since he was a young man; indeed he started buying art in his teens, some 40 years ago. A collector in the truest sense, he has quietly assembled an eclectic and dynamic collection that covers the array of artistic movements in Britain since the 1950s. Its foundation lies in a strong nexus of work created in the 1950s that demonstrates the distinctive styles which emerged from different parts of the country; from the new abstract language that was forged by the classic Modern British artists working in St Ives (Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Alan Davie, Terry Frost and Roger Hilton) to works by their contemporaries living in London who became known as the “London School” (Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and Lucian Freud). The offering also features prime examples by post-war British names such as Antony Gormley, Julian Opie, Gillian Wearing and Michael Craig Martin and by a new vanguard of young artists, some of whom have never appeared at auction before.

Discussing the reasons for selling his collection, Robert Devereux states: “Art has always been an obsession of mine. I started buying art in my teens and have always bought what I loved and always been led by what emotionally and visually stimulates me. Over the last few decades I have, more by default than design, created a collection which I love but which has grown rapidly in size, particularly in the last few years. I have, therefore, been grappling with how best to move forward. Last year I decided to establish a charity devoted to supporting the arts of Africa, a continent where I now spend a great deal of time and which has huge potential but very few resources to support its burgeoning talent. Art, Africa and philanthropy have now all come together for me and I plan to use the proceeds from the sale of my collection to launch The African Arts Trust.”

Oliver Barker, Senior Director and Senior International Specialist, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department, comments about the collection: “Sotheby’s is thrilled to be working with Robert Devereux on this very special single-owner sale. Robert is a collector of huge focus, passion and knowledge and his remarkable collection presents an exciting walk through the creativity of British art over the last 60 years. Young artists ready for their auction debut will be offered alongside established names and the range of artists, movements and price levels will make this sale very exciting and accessible to both established and new collectors in the field.”

* Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

Image: Julian Opie, Damon, Vinyl on wooden stretcher, Est: £25,000-35,000. Photo: Sotheby’s