The ever-watchful Colin Gleadell points to the unexpected success of British painters in the London Contemporary sales. Frank Auerbach set a new Pound-denominated record even though he remains publicity shy. But the driving force behind the Kossoff record was Jose Mugrabi, better known as a collector of Warhol and Basquiat:
Also from Green’s collection at Sotheby’s was another large north London scene — King’s Cross, March Afternoon, painted in 1998 by Auerbach’s close friend Leon Kossoff. Even more media-shy than Auerbach, Kossoff is one of the least appreciated of the main School of London artists. Only three of his works have exceeded a quarter of a million pounds at auction, his best price previously being £337,500.
At Sotheby’s, bidding was taken up by the American dealer, Jose Mugrabi, better known for his love of Andy Warhol, but it was sold eventually above estimate to Kossoff’s London dealer, the Annely Juda gallery, for a record £475,250. Gallery owner David Juda clearly has enormous faith in Kossoff’s future as he has bought the painting for stock. Some works have sold privately, he says, in the region of £850,000.
Art Sales: Fortune Smiles on the Best of British (Telegraph)