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Scottish Colourists Dominate Christie’s London Sale

Christie’s sale of Scottish art in London on May 25 realized £3.5 million ($6.97 million). Of 279 lots offered, 195, or 70 percent, were sold. By value the sale earned 82 percent.

NEW YORK—Christie’s sale of Scottish art in London on May 25 realized £3.5 million ($6.97 million). Of 279 lots offered, 195, or 70 percent, were sold. By value the sale earned 82 percent.

As usual, the auction was overshadowed at the top end by works from the Colourists, a group of four Scottish artists who frequently traveled to France in the early 20th-century and were heavily influenced by the French Post-Impressionists. They include Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883-1937), John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961), George Leslie Hunter (1879-1931) and Samuel John Peploe (1871-1935).

The Christie’s sale included 20 paintings and five works on paper from the collection of the late Sir James Hunter Blair, Bt. (1889-1983), who assembled the collection in the 1960s and early ’70s when such pieces could be had for as little as £100, Christie’s says. Noting that the collection exceeded estimates when it fetched £1.2 million ($2.4 million), Christie’s director of Scottish art Laura Lindsay said it was one of the best such collections to come on the market in nearly 30 years.

The top lot of the sale was Peploe’s circa 1919 work Red Chair and Tulips, which brought a within-estimate final price of £468,000, or $928,980 (estimate: £400,000/600,000), from a European collector. It was followed by Cadell’s Nude-Reflections at £258,000, or $512,130 (estimate: £150,000/ 200,000).

Two other works by Peploe were among the top prices of the sale: Cassis, which realized £132,000, or $262,020 (estimate: £60,000/80,000); and The Harbour, Cassis, ca. 1913, which took £96,000, or $190,560 (estimate: £40,000/60,000).

Lindsay said the house was encouraged by “the number of new clients who were bidding competitively in person, through the telephones and through the Internet.”

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