Colin Gleadell has this anecdote to confirm that the recent round of British paintings sales—including the David Bowie auction whose top lot was said to go to a Middle East buyer—which impressed so many with their price action and competition may be driven by a sudden transformation of the category to one with an international collector base:
a mainland Chinese art lover walked in [to the London Art Fair] with an interpreter, and on the first stand on his left, belonging to the Piano Nobile gallery from Notting Hill, he spied some post-war figurative paintings by Euan Uglow and William Coldstream – a student and his teacher in the 1950s who epitomise the Slade School of Art tradition of painting. Warming to them immediately and perhaps seeing some resonance with Chinese paintings, he elected to go to Notting Hill to see the gallery’s current exhibition devoted to the two artists. Then, much to delight of Dr Robert Travers, the gallery’s owner, he bought six paintings – four by Uglow and two by Coldstream. Prices for the Uglows ranged from around £25,000 for a drawing to ‘several hundred thousand pounds’ for a painting. A Coldstream nude was sold for around £100,000, comfortably ahead of his auction record. The works, said Travers, are destined for an art foundation in China, and will seemingly play an educational role there.
Euan Uglow leads London Art Fair sales (Telegraph)