Our January 2022 auction of Contemporary & Post-War Art // Prints & Multiples featured exciting range of works by leading Contemporary & Post-War artists such as Steven Campbell, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Banksy, Marc Chagall, William Gear, Adrian Wiszniewski, Jack Vettriano, John Bellany, Peter Howson, Paul Neagu, Tracey Emin, Chris Levine, David Shrigley, The Connor Brothers and Pablo Picasso.
Here, our specialists shared which picture from the sale that they would love to have on their walls...
I think Eduardo Paolozzi’s Lots of Pictures – Lots of Fun would be perfect on our office wall, as our department motto! It is, of course, also an upbeat example of the artist’s print-making practice. Paolozzi was born in Leith, not far from our Edinburgh saleroom. He trained at Edinburgh College of Art, St Martin’s School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, both in London. This work dates from 1971 and illustrates Paolozzi’s continuing interest in Pop Art, of which he was a pioneer. It contains references to American Pop Artists including Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns.
- Alice Strang, Associate Director and Senior Specialist, Modern & Contemporary Art
I find Paul Neagu’s work really fascinating. I’m drawn to his philosophical outlook, and the stark lines of his symbolic hyphen forms which seem to me to allude aesthetically to the austerity of his Soviet roots. I’m also a fan of (effective!) public art, and I can’t help but wonder whether Neagu would be more of a household name if his commission ‘Starhead’ for Charing Cross in Central London had ever come to fruition… sadly it was lost to budgeting/planning complications. I think we missed out on experiencing something quite special there. Happily, his work does appear auction on occasion, so canny buyers can enjoy something by the artist on a more domestic scale!
- Charlotte Riordan, Associate Director and Head of Contemporary Art
Paul Neagu’s legacy within the UK artworld is one of quiet but profound impact, with the generation of students he taught – Rachel Whiteread, Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor (who authored his obituary), attesting to his influence on their own work. His artistic practice was underpinned by his personal philosophical theory of the world; a sophisticated if esoteric approach which, though valued by curators, institutions and centres of education here from the early stages of his career, was out of step with his contemporaries at the time.
As a Romanian émigré, Neagu’s output inevitably had a cross-cultural outlook, and his sculpture, drawings and performances were underpinned by an exploration of the metaphysical, and can be described as straddling craft and conceptualism. Though these features distinguished him and set his work apart, it also meant he did not fit within the general trends in the British art world at this point, to the detriment of his standing amongst collectors of British sculpture today. Kapoor in his tribute remarks that, “…inevitably, he struggled against a British art world that preferred to see the artist as a maker of things rather than, as he saw it, art, and therefore the artist, as a generator of a philosophical world view.”
Painted in the aftermath of the Second World War, when Gear had travelled to Germany working as a Monuments Man, before settling in Paris in 1947, the current work represents an important transition in the artist’s oeuvre. Likely to have been produced from memory, the tangled structures in vivid reds, greens and browns set against a deep blue background represent the artist’s evocation of the shattered buildings of war and shows Gear’s development to use more abstract forms alongside bold colours that would become synonymous in his work during the following decades.
- Philip Smith, Associate Director, Modern & Contemporary Art
This work is part of the collection of the late Dr Angus Gibson, to be sold to support the University of Edinburgh Art Collection.
This exuberant, joyful screenprint is classic Davie. Throughout his career, he drew on wide-ranging sources of inspiration; from the improvisation of jazz music to the ancient principles of Zen Buddhism and visual approaches from American Abstract Expressionism to Aboriginal Art, developing his own unique visual language. His work is mystical and compelling, free and spirited. An important figure in Modern British Art, print-making was a key aspect of his artistic output, allowing him to experiment and collaborate. In Rune Reader II, we find bold colour and patterning, interspersed with various intriguing symbols, Davie draws us into his busy, creative world and we must use our own visual frame of reference to try and decipher our own understanding of the work.
- Carly Shearer, Head of Prints & Multiples
William Johnstone’s ‘Border Landscape’ makes me think of chilly walks in late winter, and the promise of springtime greenery. Johnstone was born into a farming family in the Scottish Borders in 1897, and after tenures as Principal at Camberwell College of Arts and Principal at Central School of Arts and Crafts he retired once more to the Borders to concentrate on painting. Here, his markmaking is as expressive as ever, with billowing watery strokes of pigment used to evoke the landscape. Allowing the texture of the paper inform how the colour drips and settles further cultivates an organic quality in this charming piece.
- Chantal de Prez, Junior Paintings Specialist
Characterised by competitive bidding, strong results and a high selling rate, our Contemporary & Post-War Art sales are among our most popular auctions. Held three times a year in our Scottish saleroom, highlights are also regularly exhibited in our London gallery. Our strong private client base and excellent international marketing reach has seen these sales grow into flagships of our company.
Encompassing works by both emerging and internationally regarded contemporary artists and sculptors, we have achieved top prices for household names including John Hoyland (a world record), Bridget Riley, Eduardo Paolozzi (a world record for a sculpture), Terry Frost, Nicholas Party, Alison Watt and Callum Innes. Regularly featured local favourites include John Bellany and the ‘New Glasgow Boys’ Peter Howson, Ken Currie, Steven Campbell, as well as John Byrne and Alasdair Gray.
Within prints and multiples, there is the opportunity to acquire icons in the genre and to make new discoveries; to purchase the work of a top master for a reasonable price or the chance to uncover something new and unfamiliar.
At Lyon & Turnbull, we handle prints from a wide variety of artists: from 20th century masters Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro through to the British canon of printmakers including Dame Laura Knight, L.S. Lowry, Edward Bawden, all the way to David Hockney and Howard Hodgkin. Our auctions encompass printmaking created up to and including the present day, with artists currently working in these mediums, such as Tracey Emin, David Shrigley, Banksy and the Connor Brothers.