The £736,000 sale on November 29 offered more than 50 lots of mid-20th century prints and paintings from the Mangold consignment, punctuated throughout with leading Mod Brit names.
The collection had hung at Mangold’s home in Stonor, near Henley-on-Thames, described in the catalogue as a 15th century former inn “whose cosy rooms and corridors could hardly contain his treasure trove of pictures, carvings and books”.
The son of German-Jewish émigrés, Mangold started collecting in the 1960s with a particular emphasis on artists such as Graham Sutherland (1903-80) and John Piper (1903-92).
All bar one of the seven Sutherland works in the sale got away, led by the artist’s semi-abstract work Head. Dating from Sutherland’s breakthrough year as an artist in 1952, the 13 x 9in (33 x 23.5cm) gouache and chalk was exhibited at the Venice Biennale that same year, where the artist had three rooms dedicated solely to him. Against a £10,000-15,000 guide, it sold to a private buyer for £19,000.
Similar enthusiasm greeted a small 10½ x 7in (27 x 18cm) double-sided Vorticist watercolour, Reading from Torah, by David Bomberg (1890-1957), an artist whose works are becoming increasingly scarce on the secondary market. Coupled with good provenance, it was propelled to £11,000 – well above the £2000- 3000 guide.
The commercial highlight was a watercolour by Paul Nash (1889- 1946), which dated to the period when he flirted with Surrealism in the 1930s. Painted in 1935, the 14 x 18in (35 x 45cm) watercolour and pencil with coloured chalk shows an arrangement of pieces painted to look like monumental sculptural forms.
Nash’s Surrealist-inspired work has fetched considerable sums at auction before. Most notably, the 1936 oil of two flint rocks titled Encounter in the Afternoon soared to a record £937,250 (including premium) at Christie’s sale of the Simon Sainsbury collection in 2008.
Like Encounter in the Afternoon, the Nash picture at W&W had formerly been in the collection of West Dean poet Edward James, also known for his patronage of Surrealism.
The 14 x 18in (35 x 45cm) watercolour and pencil with coloured chalk easily exceeded its £20,000- 30,000 guide, selling for £48,000.
A clutch of contemporary works by British artists also featured in the Mangold collection.
The unexpected star was a large modern-day crucifixion scene by Roger Wagner (b.1957). The 1990 oil on canvas measured 2ft 5in x 3ft 4in (75cm x 1.02m) and was titled Song of the Servant No 4, Surely he has borne our griefs.
Estimated at a tempting £400- 600, it flew to £15,500 where it was knocked down to the trade. The price is believed to be a new auction record for the artist.
Haunting depictions of Jewish and Christian subjects, often painted in a vivid midnight blue with the cooling towers of Didcot Power Station in Oxfordshire, are among the artist’s most recognised works.
A similar but smaller painting titled The Crucifixion took a premium-inclusive £6250 at the mammoth Stanley Seeger sale at Sotheby’s in March 2015.