This was the case for a cache of early classical drawings by LS Lowry (1887-1976) offered at Bentley’s Auction Rooms (19% buyer’s premium) in Kent on April 7.
The 19 original academic works, which had come to auction from a deceased estate near Manchester, were a world away from Lowry’s later trademark ‘industrial’ style.
Although it was not known how the cache had come into the possession of the vendor’s grandfather, the group was authenticated by Lowry specialists George and Ivan Aird of Grove Fine Art, who were the artist’s agents, and Martin Summers, the former managing director of The Lefevre Gallery, the dealership that held Lowry’s first one-man show in London and continued to represent the artist until his death.
Commercially speaking, the group were too far removed from Lowry’s later works to make serious money, but together 12 drawings sold to total £75,000. Interest came from both private and trade buyers, predominately based in the south and north west of England.
The top-seller, at a below-estimate £12,000, was a 21 x 14in (55 x 36cm) full-length study of a female nude with outstretched arm (shown above). Dated 1914, it bore written notes, presumably from Lowry’s tutor, the French Impressionist Pierre Adolphe Valette (1876-1942).