Lowry Piccadilly Circus Just Misses Goal

Painting of Piccadilly Circus by L.S. Lowry sells for £5.6 million but falls short of breaking record set by ‘The Football Match’

L.S Lowry’s much talked-about 1960 painting of Piccadilly Circus sold last night at Christie’s for £5.6 million; whilst this was an undeniably good result, it fell slightly short of its high estimate – contrary to press speculation. It therefore failed to break the record set for the artist by ‘The Football Match’ which was sold in May this year.

The sale of this particular piece (just one of 14 Lowry works featured in the catalogue at last night’s sale of 20th century British and Irish Art) has drawn much media attention due to its rarity in Lowry’s oeuvre; famed for his industrial scenes of Northern England, he only depicted London in 5 of his paintings. His only other painting of Piccadilly Circus was sold in 1998 for £562,500, a record figure at the time.

Christie’s official Philip Harley believes the success of this piece reflects a renewed enthusiasm amongst buyers for Lowry and for 20th century British art in general: ‘This inaugural evening sale…clearly highlights the current market’s insatiable appetite for the best 20th Century British and Irish Art and Christie’s continued dominance in the field of L.S. Lowry’, he said.

This theory certainly seems to have been borne out by the results of the sale as a whole: the Forte collection from which the Lowry was drawn brought in £17,668,250, far ahead of the pre-sale estimate and a making up the majority of the overall £23m. The top 5 highest-selling lots were all Lowry paintings which reached prices in the millions.

And Lowry seems to be remaining in vogue in 2011, with an exhibition of his paintings and drawings opening next week at the Richard Green Gallery in Mayfair. Words Maddie Bates © 2011 ArtLyst

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