Most expensive British bronze sells for £19.1 million At Christie’s
Christies has broken the auction record for the most expensive work of British sculpture sold. The work of art, by Modernist Henry Moore depicts a reclining female figure resting on her elbow. The abstract bronze,titled Reclining Figure was created for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and was commissioned by the Arts Council. It had been valued at £5.5 million with a guide estimate of £5 – £7 million. The 6ft long artwork was sold for £19.1million, after a fierce bidding war at Christie’s in New York. It is thought that the sculpture was purchased by the Cologne dealer Alexander Lachmann, who battled with two telephone bidders to win the auction. The sculpture was put on sale by an anonymous private collector in New York who was in no doubt delighted with the out come of the sale.The auction took place in the presence of 800 art enthusiasts who gasped and clapped at the end of the bidding.
The previous record for the priciest example of British sculpture was set by Damien Hirst with his work titled “The Golden Calf”. The piece sold for £10.3million in 2008. The Moore work has nearly doubled this benchmark. Jay Vincze of Christie’s said: ‘To break the previous record was very gratifying. Moores most expensive work previously was “Draped Reclining Woman”, which sold for £4.3 million in 2008. The most expensive work of British art is Hirst’s “For The Love Of God’ which was sold privately on 30 August 2007, for £50 million, to an anonymous consortium
Moore, who died in 1986 aged 88, is only the third Briton after painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud to exceed £15million at auction. Henry Moore was one of Britain’s most renowned sculptors. He was born 30 July 1898 at Castleford, Yorkshire, son of a miner. Taught at Castleford Grammar School 1916. Served in the army 1917–19. Resumed teaching 1919, but later the same year went to Leeds School of Art; at the R.C.A. On a scholarship 1921–4; first visit to Paris 1923; to France and Italy on a travelling scholarship 1925. Taught at the R.C.A. 1925–32, and at Chelsea School of Art 1932–9. His first one-man show was at the Warren Gallery 1928.