A 1950 work by one of Britain’s best loved artists – L.S. Lowry’s Father and Two Sons – sold for a record £1.6 million at Sotheby’s in London last evening. The work is considered to be his most important portrait and offers a timeless glimpse into street life. It sold for £1,625,000, a record price for a portrait by the artist. From the collection of Frank Cohen and was owned by Monty Bloom, a key Lowry patron in the later part of his career.
Frank Cohen commented: “I’ve always championed Modern British art and I passionately believe that Lowry ranks alongside other great painters like Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. I’m not alone in that opinion – I recall being in the Wolseley, London, when I spotted Lucian sitting at his usual corner table. We’d known each other over the years and got talking. One of the questions I posed was ‘who are your favourite artists?’ to which he replied, without hesitation, ‘Auerbach and Lowry’. And Freud knew a thing or two about painting as we all know…
I bought Father and Two Sons back in the late 90s as a present to myself after selling my DIY business. It was a lot of money at that time but I couldn’t resist as it had always reminded me of the very first job I had after leaving school at 15. I worked for Perring’s Furniture stores, which was run by Abi Stolberg and Louis Rosenblatt, as the ‘tea–boy’ in the offices, earning £2, 14 shillings and seven-pence a week. When the boss used to arrive at work – he was the clerk of the company – he’d walk in every morning with his bowler hat on, flanked on either side by two minders with winged collars. That image stayed with me forever until I found this Lowry”.
Sotheby’s sale of Modern and Post War British Art brought a record of £389,000 for Peter Lanyon for Dry Wind, an oil on canvas. There was also a record for a work on paper by Dame Barbara Hepworth, whose Forms in Movements (Circle) sold for £257,000.