Modern & Post-War British Art


Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art department offers the very best of 20th-century British art, both through record-breaking results in our quarterly various owner auctions and also through our landmark single owner sales.

The department spans over a century of British artists and movements, including the Camden Town group of Walter Sickert and Harold Gilman, the maverick and modern Edwardian art of Augustus John and William Nicholson, the so-called ‘Crisis of Brilliance’ Slade School artists who came of age in WWI including Stanley Spencer and C.R.W. Nevinson, the inter-war Modernist abstraction of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson, the neo-Romanticism of Graham Sutherland, the St Ives abstraction of Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Roger Hilton, the birth of Pop with Eduardo Paolozzi and Peter Blake, and right up to those working in the present day, including Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Barry Flanagan and Bridget Riley, among many others.

Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art leads the market in showcasing exceptional single owner collections, bringing to auction the art collections of those who have shaped and transformed the 20th century British art field through their singular and dedicated collecting. In November 2016, Sotheby’s offered the little-known collection of Davie Bowie, in Bowie/Collector, truly capturing the imagination of the public, with over 55,000 visitors attending the worldwide pre-sale exhibitions. Three sales were 100% sold, with 34 new auction records set for British artists, including Frank Auerbach, Peter Lanyon, David Jones and Harold Gilman. 2017 saw the white-glove, 100% sold, personal collection of Hollywood icon Vivien Leigh, Vivien: The Vivien Leigh Collection and the kaleidoscopic collection of beloved British painter and passionate collector Howard Hodgkin soar to £5,184,887 in Howard Hodgkin: Portrait of the Artist. The department has a longstanding legacy of offering market-defining single owner collections and historic highlights have included the white-glove A Life in Pictures: The Collection of Lord and Lady Attenborough, 2009, the ground-breaking Evill/Frost Collection, 2011, Lowry: the A.J. Thompson Collection, 2014, Daughter of History: Mary Soames and the Legacy of Churchill, 2014, A Painter’s Paradise: Julian Trevelyan & Mary Fedden at Durham Wharf, 2016, and London to St Ives: A Journey through British Art, 2016.

Flagship Modern & Post-War British Art sales are held in London in June and November and our cross-collecting Made in Britain auctions are in April and September, which focus on British talent across the disciplines of fine art, prints, photography, design and studio ceramics, with the inaugural online iteration in November 2018.

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If you wish to enquire about the possibility of offering a work in one of Sotheby's Modern & Post-War British Art sales, please click here.


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