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Preview: Modern & Contemporary Art Sale 4th March

1st February 2023.

Two drawings by the masterful Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887-1976) are to be sold in Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on 4th March in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. The works, which span Lowry’s artistic career, represent two of his overriding interests: the streets of Greater Manchester and the Sea.

“The Stepped Street” (estimate: £50,000-80,000 plus buyer’s premium) encapsulates Lowry’s skill as a draughtsman at an early stage of his career. Executed in 1929 during a golden period of creativity for the artist, the drawing depicts Crowther Street in Stockport. The second drawing on offer is “The Sea”, a simple pencil sketch of the unbroken sea and sky of the North East coast, dating to 1965 and executed during one of his frequent holidays at the Seaburn Hotel, Sunderland (estimate: £12,000-18,000 plus buyer’s premium). Here he always stayed in the same room, which looked straight out at the empty expanse of the North Sea, sketching, and watching the water and sky melding at the horizon.  One of his finest large-scale oil seascapes inspired by the same view, “The North Sea” painted in 1966, was sold at Tennants in October 2022 for £840,000 plus buyer’s premium.

“Shoalhaven River and Black Bird” by Arthur Boyd (1920-1999), one of Australia’s most important artists, is also expected to garner international interest. Boyd comes from a distinguished artistic dynasty, which contributed greatly to the landscape of Australian art. Having set up home on the banks of the Shoalhaven River in New South Wales, he was fascinated by the river and it became one of his most emotive and enduring subjects. In the present work he depicts the river with as a pure, unspoiled landscape devoid of human interference. The painting will be offered with an estimate of £12,000-18,000.

Notable works of Northern Art in the sale include ‘Children Playing Before an Industrial Town’ by Brian Shields (1951-1997), known a Braaq (estimate: £5,000-8,000), a collection of cityscapes and abstracts by Stuart Walton (b.1933) such as ‘Hunslet, Leeds’ (estimate: £800-1,200), and ‘Albert Square, Manchester’ by Arthur Delaney (1927-1987) (estimate: £1,500-2,500). From further afield are a selection of works by distinguished Canadian artists, led by “Danse Irrégulière” by Paul-Émile Borduas (estimate: £6,000-8,000). Borduas was one of the most important figures in modern Canadian art, and leader of the Automatists group. He developed a spontaneous style of non-figurative painting, a technique first used by Surrealist painters and poets to express the unconscious in art.

Also on offer in the sale is a good group of sculptures, including a life size bronze Bulldog with impressive naturalism by Yorkshire sculptor Sally Arnup (estimate: £4,000-6,000) along with examples of the work of Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn and David Wynne. An interesting selection of prints include “Aesops Fables Peacock and Magpie” by Edward Bawden (1903-1989) (estimate: £800-1,200), “Six Stones” by Henry Moore (1898-1986) (estimate: £700-1,000), along with examples by Bob Dylan, Billy Connolly, L.S. Lowry, Sir Terry Frost, and Mr Brainwash.

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