Modern sculpture in demand

Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on 28th October saw strong prices for Modern British sculpture in a buoyant sale boosted by a good Private Collection from West Yorkshire.

The top lot of the sale was a striking abstract bronze sculpture - ‘Tumaco’ by St Ives artist Denis Mitchell (1912-1993), which sold for £7,500 having attracted considerable interest ahead of the sale. Following a move to Cornwall from his native Wales in 1930, Mitchell became part of the growing community of artists in St Ives. Having begun his artistic career as a painter, Mitchell began experimenting with three-dimensional materials after working in Geevor tin mines as part of his War Service. From 1949 Mitchell spent ten years working with the legendary Barbara Hepworth as her principal assistant, following which he made the complete transition from painting to sculpture.  ‘Tumaco’ (1970) is number 1 of an edition of 6.

Other sculptures of note included ‘Abstract Form’ by Anthea Alley (1927-1993), who specialised in creating welded abstract assemblages made from scrap metal. This particular piece sold for £1,600 against an estimate of £180-250.

Notably strong prices were also achieved for works from the Estate of Marie Walker Last, an artist and passionate advocate for the arts from Ilkley, West Yorkshire. This private collection of modern art, which included works by Last herself, saw results well above estimate; for example ‘Poem’, an abstract by Aubrey Williams (1926-1990) sold for £1,400 against an estimate of £200-300, and ‘Journey to Freedom’ by Marie Walker Last (1919-2017) sold for £850 against an estimate of £300-500. Also selling well in the collection were two abstract lots by Canadian artist William John Bertram Newcombe (1907-1969), which sold for £1,400 and £1,100. Further works from the collection will be sold in the forthcoming Autumn Fine Art Sale on 18th November and the next Modern & Contemporary Art Sale on 24th February.

The sale resulted in a total Hammer Price of £75,790, with 87% of the 202 lots sold.

Tennants are currently accepting lots for the next sale of Modern & Contemporary Art on 24th February 2018, please contact them on 01969 623780 or for details.

Illustrated: Denis Mitchell (1912-1993) ‘Tumaco’
Sold for £7,500