Sotheby’s has an auction coming up celebrating 20th century British diversity and all it entails. The auction, Made in Britain, will trace the strange British imagination through pretty much every medium: Fine Art, Prints, Sculpture, Photography, Studio Ceramics, and Design – and included in these mediums are some of Britain’s most famous artists a few of whom will be coming from the collection of Martyn Goff, writer of The Plastic Fabric and driving force behind The Booker Prize, who died last year.
Highlight’s of Goff’s collection include a maquette for Henry Moore’s screen that was created for the Time-Life building in Mayfair in 1952. Moore said the commission had come about because “Architecture is the poorer for the absence of sculpture and… the sculptor, by not collaborating with the architect, misses opportunities of his work being used socially and being seen by a wider public.” This, as well as works by Christopher Wood, Keith Vaughn and many others.
Moving on from Goff’s collection, into the Paintings section – there are works by Patrick Heron – such as his typically, colourful and abstract work Violet Painting with Orange, Lemon and Black – other paintings are by Gary Blunt, Francis Bacon, who’s work Study of the Human Body (S.8) is up for sale; and L.S. Lowry, who’s charming, small-scale painting Three Children is estimated to go for £40,000 – 60,000. Grayson Perry has become a bastion for ceramics, and is fronting this section with But What am I Supposed to Wear to the Surface Decoration Ball! (1988) – which has some rather amusing (if a little grotesque) figures, playing out contemporary life, with the special Perry twist — wit. This is the first time it will be seen in public since 1989.
Other highlights from the ceramic section include Lucie Rie’s graceful ceramics, for sale is her 1987 Emerald Green Bowl with Oxide Decoration. Rie would raw-glaze her stone-ware pieces, only firing them once, which allowed the body and glaze to mature in equal time, allowing wonderfully rich colours.
Frank Auerbach appears in the Works On Paper part of the auction with four original drawings on envelopes he gave to his muse, J.Y.M, over a period of 30 years – one of which appears to be a little elephant party; these have an estimate of £1,000 – 1,5000. David Hockney has two works appearing here, including Cushions (Scottish Arts Council 64) and Lillies (S.A.C 118) estimated at £2-3,000 and £6-8,000. Eduardo Paolozzi and Henry Moore also feature in this section, with Moore’s Seated Nude in a Wicker Chair, 1934 (est. £20,000 – 30,000) the highlight of this section.
In Prints, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst and Bridget Riley are the stars. There are several etchings by Freud in this section, his Garden in Winter (est. £30,000-50,000) –is a remarkable depiction and immersion into nature, and is one of four prints for sale by the artist who said of etching: ‘With etching, there’s an element of danger and mystery. You don’t know how it’s going to come out. What’s black is white. What’s left is right.’ Two butterfly screenprints with diamond dust by Damien Hirst will be offered with an estimate of £15,000-20,000. A number of beautiful prints by the celebrated optical artist Bridget Riley, will also be in the sale, with estimates starting at £1,000.
There is also a selection of iconic photographs – such as Terry O’Neill’s much celebrated picture of Fay Dunaway sitting by the pool the night after she one an Oscar; shots of Sean Connery by Terence Donavon, some now infamous images of Jerry Hall in Russian for Vogue, by Norman Parkinson and a work by Tracey Emin, depicting her in a bubble bath titled: Sometimes I Feel Beautiful. The collection of works up for sale is a fantastic reminder of all the wonderful, idiosyncratic artists Britain has produced over the last century.
The auction will take place on 16 March 2016.