Modern British sculpture shapes demand

Modern British sculpture was much in demand at a recent auction of modern and contemporary art in North Yorkshire, with sales totaling over £75,000.

Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale earlier this month saw the sale’s top lot, an abstract bronze sculpture entitled Tumaco by St Ives artist Denis Mitchell, sell for £7,500 after generating interest ahead of the sale.

Tumaco by St Ives artist Denis MitchellBorn in Wales, Mitchell moved to Cornwall in 1930 to become part of a growing community of artists in St Ives. In his early career Mitchell was a painter, but he turned to experimenting with three-dimensional materials and spent ten years working with Barbara Hepworth as her principal assistant before making the transition to sculpture.

Other sculptures of note in the sale included Abstract Form by Anthea Alley (1927-1993), who specialised in creating welded abstract assemblages made from scrap metal. This piece sold for £1,600 against an estimate of £180-250.

Notably strong prices were also achieved for works from the Estate of Marie Walker Last, an artist and passionate advocate for the arts from Ilkley, West Yorkshire. This private collection of modern art, which included works by Last herself, saw results well above estimate; for example Poem, an abstract by Aubrey Williams (1926-1990) sold for £1,400 against an estimate of £200-300, and Journey to Freedom by Marie Walker Last (1919-2017) sold for £850 against an estimate of £300-500.

Also selling well in the collection were two abstract lots by Canadian artist William John Bertram Newcombe (1907-1969), which sold for £1,400 and £1,100. Further works from the collection will be sold in the forthcoming Autumn Fine Art Sale on November 18.


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