Bridget Riley's £2.5m Gala Leads Christie's Modern British and Irish Art

The March 22nd Evening sale features Nicholson, Lowry, and David Bomberg

The works get sold under the heading of Modern British and Irish art but many of the artists have become leading lights of the Modern art market—like Bridget Riley and Barbara Hepworth—while others continue to be highly prized by collectors like L.S. Lowry and David Bomberg.

Christie’s Evening sale—a scheduling distinction that’s meant to signal special occasion status—of Modern British and Irish art will be held on March 22 and feature Bridget Riley’s Gala from 1974. The work is estimated at £2.5 million which is more than three times the price it made when last sold in 2009. At the low estimate, the final selling price would be among the top three prices ever achieved at auction for Riley.

Alongside Riley, the sale has an uncommon seascape by L.S. Lowry estimated at £1.2 million. Another work that featured water without any hint of human presence, Reservoir from 1952, was smaller and made £452,500 six years ago.

David Bomberg’s The Bridge and the River Tajo, Ronda painted in 1935, carries an estimate of £850,000. The Spanish landscape was last sold in June of 2006 for a price of £927,085.

The low estimate for Sir John Lavery’s The Croquet Party from 1890-93 is £1,200,000. At that price, the painter of idyllic sporting scenes among the wealthy would see another work land in the range of his five most expensive works at auction.

Two works by Ben Nicholson—October 1949 (Rangitane) estimated at £700,000 and 1936 (white relief) with an estimate of £1,500,000—are on offer. The first is one of two works created for the luxury liner Rangitane. It’s companion piece was sold in June of 2014 for £938,500. The white relief is similar to another work from 1934 sold in 2020 for £995,250. This one was sold in 2003 for £790,228.

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