Choosing the correct approach for selling a work of art is important if one is to achieve the correct result. We were recently approached by some clients who wished to sell two large early paintings by Rose Wylie R.A.
Purchased in the early 1990s when Rose was hardly known outside a tiny circle of supporters, the owners were now looking to downsize and these two big canvases were hard to house. Since the original purchase, the critical and commercial excitement over Rose’s work had grown and grown, and in the last decade we have seen a host of exhibitions both at home and abroad, the publication of a large monograph and her instantly recognisable style appearing in magazines and elsewhere.
Although the primary market for her work was extremely strong and was handled by one of the large international galleries, very little had appeared on the secondary market. We felt that the high levels of public interest in her work and the extreme shortage of supply could mean that this could be a situation where an auction forum would work well and we therefore consulted Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department. In conjunction with the auction house specialists, we decided that we would focus attention by offering the pieces in subsequent auctions and when the first piece, Listening to Miss B, 1993 was offered in March 2019 it performed extremely well, easily passing the £50-70,000 pre-sale estimate to sell for £106,250 with premium and setting an auction record for the artist.
The second canvas, Baby Jesus of Prague, 1990, offered by Sotheby’s in June 2019, also sold well, reaching £60,000 with buyer’s premium and our clients were delighted to have been able to present their works in a forum where the excitement and enthusiasm for Rose’s work came to the fore and achieved such good results.