The latest offering on April 26 included 13 works by the artist, with all bar one selling to contribute over £45,000 to the bottom line.
The group’s financial highlight was The Entertainers, a 3ft 2in x 4ft 10in (98cm x 1.48cm) oil on canvas showing a dance troupe of two couples on a stage, which sold just under estimate at £11,000.
Indicative of the wide range of prices the artist can fetch, the group’s lowest sum was £280 for a small female nude study, dated to 1981.
“Key’s work varies enormously according to the provenance, size and subject matter,” says Peter Wilson in its online collecting guide for the artist. Vibrant landscapes, clowns, horses, still-life and sculptures are all part of the artist oeuvre. Not only popular with northern art collectors, his works now reside in private collections in France, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and he has held one-man shows on four continents.
In the same sale, the auctioneers also sold a street scene painted in 1972 by another local artist, Salford-born Harold Riley (b.1934). It made £15,500 against a £16,000-18,000 estimate.