Whistler’s studio at No8 Fitzroy Street was also where Walter Sickert (1860-1942) later formed the Fitzroy Street Group in 1907, the nucleus of the Camden Town Group.
A market-fresh drawing of the entrance to Whistler’s studio in Fitzroy Square by Sickert was the star performer of Harry Moore-Gwyn’s sale at 25 Blythe Road (20% buyer’s premium) in London on October 25.
Sickert painted the 17 x 11in (43 x 28cm) pen and brown ink drawing in c.1918, after he bought the studio himself. The drawing was knocked down to a private bidder for three times the top guide at £9000.
An etching and lithograph by leading Realist painter Jean-François Millet (1814-75) were among the other highlights in the sale. Considered rare survivors, these works feature two of Millet’s most famous subjects from one of his most influential decades, the 1850s.
Le Semeur, a 10½ x 8in (27 x 20cm) lithograph of a seed-sower, sold for £6000, while an 8 x 13in (21 x 33cm) etching of Les Glaneuses made £5500. Moore-Gwyn said the sale – which also incorporates photographs assembled by specialist Arnaud Delas – was the most successful mixed picture auction at 25 Blythe Road to date, totalling just over £115,000.
However, there was disappointment in the performance of the potential top lot Speed, a Grosvenor School linocut by Claude Flight (1881-1955) that failed to find a buyer at £15,000- 20,000. It found a new home after the sale, but the lacklustre response points to the wider cooling for Grosvenor School lithographs over the last few years.