A firm favourite of mine, it’s always a pleasure to handle the elegant, distinctive work of Alison Watt. One of my highlights last year was the sale of Love II. Painted in 2002, it was an early work in her transition from Freud-inspired figuration to the suggestive folds of cloth that solidified her reputation; leading to many high-profile commissions and exhibitions including a landmark solo show at the National Gallery in 2008 and an OBE the same year. In the last twelve months we’ve seen her work evolve into a new mode again, with her latest show ‘A Portrait Without Likeness’ at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery demonstrating a return to a more directly representational approach. Her work doesn’t appear on the open market often, so it’s a real privilege to have built up a strong record for her on the secondary market.
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Reflecting on 2021, it has been an exceptional year of sales of Modern British Art at Lyon & Turnbull, and it has been difficult to pick one highlight having handled many important works and set a number of auction world artist’s records by artists such as Barbara Hepworth and Edward Wolfe in our flagship London sale Modern Made. One highpoint was offering two significant works by the British sculptor Lynn Chadwick that reflected the radical responses to sculpture of a Post-War generation in Britain, who were seeking a new artist language after the Second World War. The questions that Chadwick was asking from the 1950s, in exploring how to reflect the human condition in a 3D art form still resonate to this day. The market for British post-war sculpture has grown significantly over the last few years, and in particular the work of Chadwick is sought after and has an international appeal with buyers worldwide responding to the aesthetic receptivity of his work.
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2021 saw an interesting development from our established sales programme with the offer of three single owner painting sales; Modern Scotland, A Celtic Vision and the The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Collection. From a collection consigned from South Wales to the internationally regarded property of the artist Wilhelmina Barns Graham these sales met with universal approval from buyers. It is rare to achieve a ‘white glove’ sale in which every lot is sold and for two of these sales to achieve such a positive response is testament to the enthusiasm for the curated nature of such offerings. I look forward to promoting similar collections in 2022.
Learn more about our Scottish Paintings & Sculpture auctions ⇒
I was delighted to join Lyon & Turnbull in the Autumn of 2021, having worked as a Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland for over twenty years. Anne Redpath is recognised as the doyenne of post-World War Two Scottish painting. She is a Scottish Art market leader, at a time when interest in the work of women artists is stronger than ever. Her beautiful Still Life – Tulips and Lilies achieved £75,000* in our December 2021 sale of Scottish Paintings & Sculpture. It epitomises Redpath’s mastery of the still-life genre and handling of oil paint. It also shows her powerful use of white, against which brighter tones are made to sing. Redpath took great care over the decoration and furnishing of her home in Edinburgh’s New Town, which often provided the subject matter for her work. It gives me a thrill to walk past her former front door, which is just around the corner from Lyon & Turnbull’s Edinburgh headquarters.
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2021 saw the launch of our Prints & Multiples auctions. An increasingly popular and ever-growing aspect of the wider art market, it has been exciting to add this into our sale calendar and see it develop and grow. In August, we were delighted to handle a small collection of print works by British-Portuguese artist Paula Rego. An important figure in contemporary art, her print works engage with similar themes to her paintings; mythologies, fairy tales and the female experience. A large-scale retrospective of her paintings travelled to Edinburgh in 2019, before touring the U.K. in 2021; this has helped generate a new focus on her work that we then saw reflected in the prices achieved. It is always exciting as an auctioneer to see how shifts in other aspects of the artworld impact on the market, and I look forward to more changes and surprises in 2022!
Learn more about our Prints & Multiples auctions ⇒
Consignments are invited for our Spring and Summer painting and sculpture auctions, with valuation appointments available nationwide. Please contact us for an up-to-date valuation.
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.
Lyon & Turnbull’s Scottish Paintings & Sculpture specialists host two auctions per year from our Scottish auction house based in Edinburgh. Successfully selling around 90% of Scottish Colourist works handled in the last eight years, a record unmatched by our competitors – selling Scottish art in Scotland has always been a Lyon & Turnbull lynchpin. Our specialists are experts not only on the works of Scottish artists, but also on the workings of the art market, and it is this combination that fuels our on-going success in the field.
Lyon & Turnbull are delighted to offer several auctions a year across the UK featuring to Modern British painting, sculpture, prints and drawings - including MODERN MADE in London. These Modern British art auctions feature works from the likes of Walter Sickert and the Camden Town Group to Terry Frost and the St Ives School, we also handle selected works by all of 20th century Europe’s major figures and movements.
Our British & European Paintings specialists’ knowledge encompasses all major European art movements from the 17th to early 20th century; including genre scenes, portraiture, still life, landscape and narrative paintings from Britain, Austria, Germany, France (including the Barbizon School), Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Malta, Poland and Russia.