Barbara Hepworth’s poignant sculpture reflecting on maternal tenderness, Mother and Child, from the collection of art critic Herbert Read achieved the highest price at Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale.
Against an estimate of £150,000 to £200,000, the piece eventually sold for £260,750.
Elsewhere, Ben Nicholson’s 1936 (gouache) achieved £224,750 against an estimate of £150,000 to £200,000. The work was given by the artist to Read and his wife, Margaret, as a Christmas gift when Nicholson and Hepworth moved into the Mall Studios in Hampstead.
Bonhams Director of Modern British and Irish Art, Matthew Bradbury said, “Herbert Read single-handedly championed Modern Art in Britain at a time when it was ignored or even ridiculed. His collection – built largely with gifts from grateful artists – was legendary, and I am not surprised these two pieces sold so well.”
Additional highlights from the sale were:
- William Roberts, Billingsgate, (1913) achieved an impressive £162,500 – more than three times its estimate high of £50,000.
- David Jagger, The Jade Necklace, (1923) achieved £162,500 against an estimate of £70,000-100,000.
- Paul Feiler, Enclosed Verticals achieved £125,000 against an estimate of £100,000-150,000.
In total the sale made £2,224,875.