Modern & Post-War British Art at Sotheby's

On 13 and 14 June Sotheby’s is hosting a sale of Modern and Post-War British Art which will showcase fresh-to-market works. For many works, it has been decades since they have been on display to the public. To celebrate the sale Sotheby’s is also hosting a weekend of talks, tours and events on 11 and 12 June. Visitors will have the chance to chat to Sotheby’s specialists, have tours of the sale and attend talks with art historians, there will even be children’s activity packs for those visiting with their families.

All places are free and you can find out more by visiting: sothebys.com/modbrit

In anticipation, we’ve chosen a selection of our favourite pieces from the sale, we’ll be looking out for them next week!

Ivon Hitchens has been a longtime favourite of ours as we are drawn to his interplay of bright and muted colours. His subtle colours makes his work easy to place within an interior, they are guaranteed to add charm and character to a room, blending with and not overpowering an existing colour scheme. British painter Hitchens flourished in England during the 1920s, working as part of the London Group alongside painters like Roger Fry. The landscape in West Sussex where he had his home and studio served as his greatest inspiration, and he focused on the light, trees and water that surrounded him. This work ‘Holbrook’ below is a wonderful example of this landscape influence.

Estimate: £50,000-80,000

There are also some wonderful works by Patrick Heron in the auction including 'Complicated Reds' and 'Indigo Round Umber and Venetian and Into Ultramarine' below. These are typical of his 60s style, when he painted in the cleverly described 'wobbly hard edge' manner. He would often draw the shapes quickly, in a matter of seconds, before starting to paint. For Heron, this was a way of returning to the immediacy of drawing and maintaining a sense of energy.

Estimates: (left) £50,000-80,000 and (right) £12,000-18,000

John Piper is one of Britain’s most celebrated war artists and is famed for his paintings and prints of British landscapes. The British landscape is a setting he returns to time and again and this work entitled ‘Beach IIl’ is a classic example of this. His paintings and prints of British towns have in many ways become archives of these sites. We were particularly intrigued by this work for its mixture of both figurative and abstract styles. He also incorporates mixed-media; collage, pencil, felt tip, watercolour and gouache have all been used.

Estimate: £20,000-30,000

We were pleased to see the inclusion of Pauline Boty, who was an important figure in British Pop Art. She sadly died in 1966 at the young age of 28 and has been largely excluded from recognition. The Tate Britain now has one of her keys works ‘The Only Blonde in the World’ on display and she is now gaining some attention. The work in Sotheby’s sale is a small painted and mixed media collage entitled ‘Light my Fire’.

Estimate: £5,000-7,000

Sotheby's Collections & Collectors Auction

You can count on Devas Designs to bring you regular updates and best buys from London’s auction houses! This week we bring you our favourite items from Sotheby’s ‘Collections and Collectors’ auction, taking place on April 28th.

This sale is truly eclectic, bringing together a wonderful variety of objects in varying styles and tastes - Sotheby’s told us ‘there is something for everyone’ and we certainly agree.

We have also been drawn to works by Paul Cesar Helleu when it crops up in auctions. Helleu is known for his drawings of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque era. He has a real sensitivity of style in both his drawings and engravings and although his female subjects typify the French culture of the time, their beauty and elegance become timeless. His son and grandson both became artistic directors of Chanel, so his style certainly had an influence on them! Bow works below are portraits of Helleu's own daughter, Ellen, there is a beautiful and touching sensitivity in the way he has delicately modelled her lips and hair. 

The French marble topped gueridon table below features a beautiful veined white marble top. In its centre is a marble roundel within a Sienna marble border and grey marble concentric rings - we love this amount of detail on an item that at first-hand appears simple in its design. The geometry and minimal tones give it a real elegance which would work wonderfully in a classic interior.

This pair of Regency ebonisded and parcel gilt daybeds also caught our eye. They have a beautiful colouring and texture, having been upholstered in a reddy-orange velvet. These would look elegant and grand in a classic sitting room and compliment a rich, earthy colour scheme.

We source items for clients so we are always looking out for unique items that can add charm to a room without the need for an entire redecoration. The four Louis XV panels below are a brilliant example of how antique items can transform a room, by adding panels like these, colour, flair and character is instantly created.

Bernheimer Sale at Sotheby's

This month Sotheby’s is hosting a major sale of antiques and works of art from the collection of the Bernheimer family. The Bernheimers started with a humble market stall in Munich and grew to become one of Europe’s most dominant dealer dynasties. They have been incredibly resilient, overcoming deportation during the war to Dachau and the business being expropriated by the Nazis. During this time some of the family moved to Venezuela and after the war they returned and managed to entirely rebuild and eventually expand their business. The collection is in impeccable condition and features works of art, porcelain and furniture.

Here are a few of our favourite pieces from the sale …

This pair of gilt bronze mounted rouge grotto marble cassolettes from the 19th century are exquisitely sumptuous. They come from France and are in a classic Louis XVI style. Each one has a domed cover which conceals a nozzle. The details are wonderful, with each also featuring ram’s mask supports which are hung with beautiful tasselled chains. The beaded circular base gives a sense of stability to this ornate design.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

This French grand piano (c. 1902) caught our eye instantly, it is an unusual and unique piece. It is in a neoclassical style known as ‘Adam’ which was inspired by the work of Robert and James Adam who advocated an integrated style for architecture and interiors. This stunning piano is polychrome painted with satinwood, ivory and ebony details. The case is decorated with roundels and rectangular panels. The painted details are very much in the style of Angelica Kauffman, a neoclassical painter from Austria who often worked alongside Robert Adam. Much of her work portrayed pretty and poetic scenes from Classical literature, like the painted roundels on this piano which have an almost Rococo quality. The piano also features decorative musical trophies, drapery and ribbon-tied laurel swags. While an item like this might seem like an extravagant addition to an interior, it would truly be a talking point and add a real charm and history to a room.

Estimate: £5,000-7,000

We loved this sculpture by German artist Hermann Haase-Ilsenburg entitled ‘The Amazon’s Farewell’. It has been cast in bronze with a beautifully rich dark brown patina. The female nude is elegantly modelled and the rich patina reflects light to produce a wonderful sense of movement when you walk around the work. This sculpture would look wonderful in a drawing room, either on display individually or as part of a collection. We source works of art for clients and enjoy finding unique pieces that work with their existing collection.

Estimate: £2,500-3,500

We also loved this sculpture by Max Klinger, a German sculptor and symbolist painter. This sculpture was most likely made during his time in Rome where he was heavily influence by Renaissance works and subject matter. Again this work is cast in bronze with a rich black patina and sits on a mottled green marble base. The female nude is reminiscent of Renaissance and classical figures like Venus.

Estimate: £5,000-7,000