Victor Pasmore, a distinguished Modern British artist, played a significant role in the pioneering development of British abstraction. His influential contributions are evident in his highest-selling works, such as Linear Motif in Black and White (1960-1961) and Abstract in White, Black, Maroon and Cedar (1962-1963). These pieces demonstrate Pasmore's progressive exploration of abstraction, as he ventured into tangible three-dimensionality by incorporating objects that visually protrude from the canvas. Pasmore's artistic prowess is further revealed through his adept incorporation of art historical narratives, seamlessly blending impressionistic aesthetics with modern abstract notions. This fusion of styles showcases his innovative approach and establishes him as an influential figure within the art world.
In terms of market performance, Pasmore's trajectory exhibits healthy fluctuations, with noteworthy compound annual returns observed in the past five years. While his paintings are relatively scarce in the market, with only one sale recorded in 2023, his prints circulate more frequently, commanding prices ranging from the hundreds to the high thousands. This presents an attractive opportunity for collectors seeking to enhance their portfolios with Modern British prints.
The following list highlights Victor Pasmore's highest auction prices.
Victor Pasmore was a proponent of pure abstraction, which he viewed as a way of capturing the essential qualities of art. His work, Linear Motif In Black And White (1960-1961), is a prime example of this approach and explores three-dimensionality by incorporating a range of materials, including acrylic and gravure on Formica, similar to woodblock printing. Through layering these composite materials, Pasmore creates a work that is as much an object as a picture, inviting the viewer to consider the physicality of the materials used in its creation. Linear Motif In Black And White is a seminal representation of Pasmore's oeuvre, showcasing his innovative approach to form, material, and perception.
This work is his auction record and sold for £329,000 (fees included) at Christie’s in June 2017.
The Studio of Ingres (1945-1946) is a significant work that reflects Victor Pasmore's artistic development from a representational artist to an abstract painter. The painting is titled after the celebrated French neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and is an interpretation of his studio, featuring elements of his famous painting, “Odalisque.’’ Pasmore's composition is highly formal, showing carefully calculated relationships between form, line, and space, resulting in overlapping geometric shapes that create a sense of depth and three-dimensionality, as the muted colour palette emphasises the sensual and intimate atmosphere of the artist's studio. Intriguing about this work is how Pasmore mutes the body of the woman by abstracting her torso within the white ben linens foreshadowing his keen interest in the movement and aesthetics.
This painting's fusion of art historical references and aesthetics makes it a compelling work attesting to its price of £221,500 (fees included) at Sotheby's in June 1997, the second-highest price achieved for a Pasmore artwork.
This artwork marks a significant turning point in Victor Pasmore's artistic trajectory, symbolising his departure from representational painting techniques learned at the Euston Road School and embracing abstraction. It represents a convergence of diverse artistic influences, blending a vibrant colour palette reminiscent of American Abstract Expressionists with geometric forms evocative of British modern abstract artists like Terry Frost. In a manner akin to his English counterparts, Pasmore draws inspiration from the natural world, embarking on an aesthetic transformation inspired by cosmic grandeur.
Abstract in Indian Red, Crimson, Blue, Yellow, Green, Pink and Orange (1957) achieved a notable sale of £200,000 (fees included) at Christie's in October 2019, underscoring its artistic and historical significance.
Linear Image: The New Vitruvius (1965-1967) exemplifies Victor Pasmore's matured artistic style, characterised by its minimalist and precise geometric shapes. The artwork features a symmetrically deviated circle positioned within a blue-grey square, elegantly framed by a white border. It employs a thoughtful combination of artistic mediums - oil and gravure - to faithfully depict the piece's intended vision.
Drawing inspiration from Vitruvius, the Roman architect whose work influenced Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, Pasmore explores the connection between natural forms and classical order. Offering his own interpretation of this theme, Pasmore incorporates abstract engravings of human limbs within the white circle. The artwork showcases a rich complexity, drawing upon various art historical references and periods of artistic creation.
Linear Image: The New Vitruvius sold for £200,000 (fees included) at Christie's in June 2018 and is his fourth highest-selling work.
Children Playing on the Banks of the River (1946-1967) is a remarkable discovery in the art market, renowned for its distinctive aesthetic and diverse stylistic influences. The painting adopts an impressionist narrative, capturing the fleeting essence of the landscape through expressive and loosely applied brushstrokes. However, it's the contrasting black elements, such as the pram, distant hats and the undistinguishable characters, that disrupt the illusion of depth, drawing the viewer's attention back to the two-dimensional nature of the painting and heightening its enigmatic quality.
With a focus on colour as an arrangement of abstract shapes, this painting is a testament to Victor Pasmore's devotion to abstraction. Having been purchased directly from Pasmore by a companion, this work was sold at Sotheby’s in June 2017 for £175,000 (fees included), carrying a prestigious provenance.
A commissioned artwork, Magdalene Bridge (1947), combines Impressionist influences with Pointillist techniques, evident in the portrayal of the en-plen-air narrative and detailed foliage of the trees. However, what elevates this work is Victor Pasmore's emphasis on abstraction, showcased through a harmonious colour palette and the integration of geometric forms through the houses and reflection of the river to establish depth and spatiality. This distinct amalgamation of styles is reflected in the selling price of £170,500 (fees included) at Sotheby's in November 2014.
A groundbreaking artwork from the 1960s that showcases Victor Pasmore's bold and innovative explorations. Pasmore ventured into uncharted territory by introducing tangible three-dimensionality through the inclusion of objects extending beyond the canvas, evoking sculptural qualities and reflecting his enduring fascination with architecture. This marked a notable departure from his earlier figurative works, demonstrating the evolution of Pasmore's artistic approach to abstraction.
Recently, this masterpiece commanded a remarkable price of £150,000 (fees included) at Christie's in October 2021.
Linear Composition In Black And White (1960) serves as a further testament to Victor Pasmore's matured artistic style, wherein he deconstructs geometric shapes to emphasise the artistic materiality and physical characteristics of the artwork. This technique holds particular significance for Pasmore, as he believed it transcended the conventional perception of an artwork merely as a picture, blurring the creative and constructivist boundaries between painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Notably, this piece achieved a sale price of £146,500 (fees included) at Sotheby's in November 2014.
A renowned artwork from Victor Pasmore's early years at the Euston Road School, this piece captures the scenic view from his Hammersmith terrace. It portrays the dynamic interplay between the foliage and marsh, transformed by the shifting colours of the sky. Pasmore's ingenuity is evident as he merges his abstract sensibilities with masterful handling of chromatic gradations, seamlessly transitioning into impressionistic linear strokes that create the trees. This period marked a crucial phase in his artistic development.
View of a Garden, Chiswick (circa 1944) achieved an impressive sale price of £131,000 (fees included) at Christie's in June 2017, surpassing the high estimate of £50,000.
Victor Pasmore drew inspiration from the picturesque Thames River view visible from his residence in Hammersmith during the 1940s. The Gardens of Hammersmith, No. 2 (1948) belongs to a series of four paintings widely regarded as a gradual exploration into abstraction for Pasmore. These artworks exhibit a fusion of pointillism and linear interpretations of the impressionist en plein air aesthetics, characterised by a restrained colour palette.
This artwork ranks among Victor Pasmore's top ten works, exemplifying its significance within his oeuvre, achieving a sale price of £120,000 (hammer) at Christie's in 1995.