World auction record for British artist at Canterbury

A portrait by British artist Maurice Greiffenhagen sold for a world auction record of £24,000 at the Canterbury Auction Galleries’ summer sale.

A portrait by British artist Maurice GreiffenhagenA second similar work, also with a young girl as its subject, sold for £14,500, both prices being multiples of their presale estimates.

The two small oils on canvas were consigned Gillingham pharmacist Robert Wardley. It is thought one of the girl’s portrayed is Mr Wardley’s mother.

The record-breaking painting was a shoulder-length portrait of a wide-eyed young girl wearing a brimmed hat set in a garden landscape, 14 x 11.5ins, which was signed and dated 1886. It was purchased by an anonymous buyer in the saleroom.

Maurice Greiffenhagen (1862-1931) was born in London to parents who had emigrated from the Baltic region. He spent the early years of his career in London until 1906 when he was offered the post of professor of painting at the Glasgow School of Art, where he remained until 1926.

Like many of the artists of his era, he began his career by making drawings of antique sculpture in the British Museum, but unlike many of his contemporaries, his potential was recognised early and he was admitted to the Royal Academy School aged just 16. He was made an Associate Member in 1916 and a Royal Academician in 1922.

He exhibited regularly at the RA and also illustrated books and designed commercial posters, notably a series commissioned by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway.

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