06 Aug, 2009

Richard Attenborough forced to sell paintings

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

Director and his wife ask Sotheby’s to auction 50 works by some of the greats of 20th British art including Lowry and Hepworth

It is not a problem many of us have but when you run out of walls for your art collection there is probably only one course of action: sell.

Sotheby’s today announced it is to auction 50 works owned by Lord and Lady Attenborough, including paintings by LS Lowry, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Christopher Wood and Graham Sutherland.

Richard Attenborough said his west London house was so overstuffed with art that it was time to sell. “Sixty years ago my wife, Sheila, and I bought the house we live in to this day,” he said. “We could not afford carpets or curtains, but more importantly for us we had a few pictures for our walls.

“Today, this passion has led us to the position of possessing more paintings than those walls can contain.

“Now is the moment for us to pass on these ravishing images for others to treasure and enjoy.”

And certainly there are some gems that will go under the hammer on 11 November, including a late 1940s Lowry called Old Houses, valued at £300,000-£500,000.

James Rawlin, Sotheby’s head of 20th century British art, said: “It is, essentially, a nice wander through British art from the first world war to the 60s.”

Rawlin said the collection showed a discerning eye and Attenborough also owns the largest private collection of Picasso ceramics in Europe. The paintings are expected to fetch, in total, more than £2m.

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