Sotheby’s continued to showcase the very best in 20th century British art in 2016, both through record breaking results in our quarterly various owner auctions and also through our landmark single owner sales.
A standout of the year was the historic Bowie/Collector auction, which revealed for the first time Bowie’s little known and very private passion for art and collecting. The auction truly captured the imagination of the public – with over 55,500 visitors attending the worldwide pre-sale exhibitions. The three sales were 100% sold, totalling was £32.9m / $41.1m, well above the pre-sale estimate of £9.8-14.3m and 34 new auction records were set for British artists- including Frank Auerbach, Harold Gilman, Peter Lanyon and David Jones.
The Modern & Post-War British Art department leads the way in promoting British creativity and ingenuity, particularly through our legacy of offering the most important single-owner collections in this field. Highlights have included: A Life in Pictures: The Collection of Lord and Lady Attenborough, a white-glove sale which invigorated the market in 2009, the landmark Evill/Frost Collection, the most prestigious collection of 20th Century British art ever to come for sale, as well as 2014’s Lowry: The A.J. Thompson Collection, the greatest collection assembled in recent history of Britain’s favourite artist, and Daughter of History: Mary Soames and the Legacy of Churchill, which included the most important and personal group of paintings by Churchill ever to come to the market.
The artists and periods we handle range from ground-breaking Edwardians such as Augustus John and William Nicholson, to Modernist and Surrealist works made between the World Wars, through Neo-Romanticism to the realism and abstraction of the 1950s, the birth of Pop Art and right up to those working in the present day.
We hold our Modern & Post- War British Art sales in June and November and our Made in Britain auctions, which focus on British talent across the disciplines of fine art, prints, sculpture, photography, design and studio ceramics, in April and September.