Richard Attenborough sells part of art collection

Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:53am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Film director Richard Attenborough is auctioning part of his collection of British paintings, including one he sold to help finance Oscar-winning movie "Gandhi" and which he bought back years later.

The 51 lots, representing a cross section of British art from the middle decades of the 20th century, are expected to fetch more than 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) at the November 11 London auction, Sotheby's said at a press preview on Thursday.

"Lord and Lady Attenborough have been collecting for over 60 years, and started out just after the war," said James Rawlin, head of 20th century British art at Sotheby's.

"They were avid collectors and very enthusiastic collectors and, as with every enthusiastic collector, they ended up with more stuff than they had space for," he told Reuters.

In an introduction to the catalog, Attenborough added: "In all truth ... art belongs to no one, some of us are simply its temporary, fortunate and delighted custodians. Now these beautiful images will ravish the senses of their new owners."

In terms of value, "Old Houses" by L.S. Lowry is expected to be the top lot on the night, with a pre-sale estimate of 300-500,000 pounds for the urban realist's 1948 work.


Another highlight is Graham Sutherland's "Thorn Head" from 1947, which Sotheby's said was arguably the finest work by the artist to come to market since the same painting was sold by the same auctioneer in 1984.   Continued...