Lowry Painting Set To Fetch £6m at Christie’s

Lord Forte’s Piccadilly Circus Oil goes under the hammer In November

Having been part of hotel tycoon Lord Forte’s personal collection for almost 30 years, a LS Lowry painting of Piccadilly Circus is now going to be up for auction for the very first time. What’s more, it’s estimated that the piece – due to be sold Christie’s on 16 November – could fetch as much as £6 million!

The 1960 painting, the most valuable in a list of 14 Lowry works from Forte’s collection, is one of only two images of Piccadilly Circus painted by the artist. Famous for his paintings of northern mill towns, these anomalous works were created just months apart. And, when the earlier one was sold in 1998, it set a then-record price for the artist, the 20 inches by 24 inches painting going for £562,500.

The second Piccadilly Circus painting (a larger piece, measuring 30’’ by 40’’) is to be sold at Christie’s next month as part of what is claimed to be the most important group of Lowry works to ever come to auction. If it is sold for £6million – the top estimate –, it would set a new record price for Lowry’s work, trumping the £5.6 million paid for his famous Football Match.

The painting depicts the iconic Piccadilly Circus fountain in a different spot from its present location, along with billboards ads for international brands Max Factor, Wrigleys, Coca Cola, Bovril, and Gordon’s Gin. It will be on sale alongside the 1953 Fun Fair At Daisy Nook – an image of Lancashire mill workers celebrating Good Friday, and potentially fetching up to £2 million –, as well as the 1941 painting Saturday Afternoon that depicts leisure activities taking place in front of an ominous factory building. In the words of Philip Harley, director and head of 20th Century British & Irish Art at Christie’s in London, ‘This group offers Lowry collectors the opportunity to acquire a master work from this carefully composed collection, gathered by an eminent figure of the post-war British era’. – Thomas Keane © ArtLyst 2011

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