Von Motesiczky was born into an intellectual family in Vienna – her father was a talented cellist and her grandmother was one of Sigmund Freud’s early patients. She was invited by the great Max Beckmann to join his master class in Frankfurt am Main in the late 1920s. She left Austria after the Anschluss with Germany in 1938, coming to England with her mother.
Despite holding exhibitions in London and New York, her work has only occasionally sold at auction before partly due to the fact that she parted with very few pictures during her lifetime.
The eight works offered at Chiswick on December 4, which dated from the 1940s to the mid-1980s, were being sold on behalf of The Marie-Louise Motesiczky Charitable Trust. Generating lively interest, all of them sold for a combined £52,600, with three going to Austrian buyers and four to UK private collectors. The other work was bought by London’s Ben Uri Gallery, which is dedicated to the study of Jewish and immigrant artists in Britain since 1900.
Top-seller was Cat with flowers, a signed oil on canvas painted in 1949 at ‘Corner Ways’, the house in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, bought by the artist’s mother in 1941. Estimated at £4000-6000, it made £9000 – the second-highest price at auction for the artist.
The Ben Uri purchase was a later circus scene (above) from 1964 that made a below-estimate £6500. The gallery, which had shown her works in two previous exhibitions, said: “Marie- Louise has been an omission from our collection and a key target acquisition.”