Art market

Object Lessons: from Barbara Hepworth's St Ives bronze to Grant Wood's censored lithograph

Our pick from this week's auctions and fairs


Barbara Hepworth, Two Forms in Echelon (1961) Courtesy of the St Ives Times & Echo

Barbara Hepworth, Two Forms in Echelon (1961)

Belgrave St Ives, the British Art Fair, London, 20-23 September

Around £3m

From 1963 until around ten years ago, this 1.2m-tall bronze group stood in the courtyard of Barnaloft, a 1960s residential block of 22 studios and apartments for artists at Porthmeor Beach, St Ives. Among Barnaloft’s residents were Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Bryan Pearce, Bernard Leach and Hepworth herself. Two Forms in Echelon will be offered for sale, on behalf of the original owners, for the first time since 1963 at the British Art Fair (formerly the 20/21 British Art Fair). The fair, which specialises in Modern and contemporary British art and was started in 1988, was bought by Robert and Johnny Sandelson earlier this year from its founders, Gay Hutson and the late Angela (Bunny) Wynn, and will be held for the first time at the Saatchi Gallery.

Archimede Seguso, merletto glassworks (1952) Photos: Henrik Wichmann

Archimede Seguso, merletto glassworks (1952)

International Autumn Auction, Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen, 18-27 September

Estimate DKK50,000-DKK150,000 ($7,600-$22,800)

On the heels of Venice Glass Week, Bruun offers a robust private collection of Modern glass from Finland, Sweden and Italy. Highlights include numerous pieces by Vicke Lindstrand, the pioneering Swedish glass artist, as well as a serpentine vase inlaid with opal by Gunnel Nyman, the early 20th-century female Finnish designer. The stars of the show, however, are three lots by the Italian Murano master Archimede Seguso, which form a previously unseen set of merletto pieces. Peter Kjelgaard Jensen, Bruun Rasmussen’s specialist, says they “show the movement in mid-century Italian glass away from function and into basically being a canvas for a piece of abstract Modern art”.

Grant Wood, Sultry Night (1939)

Grant Wood, Sultry Night (1939)

Prints and Drawings, Swann, New York, 20 September

Estimate $15,000-$20,000

Grant Wood is best known for his American Gothic painting that defined the 1930s American Regionalism movement. Yet detailed lithographs, chiefly available by mail order, made up most of his artistic output toward the end of his career. However, when the New York post office deemed Sultry Night’s depiction of a male nude indecent and refused to handle it, the edition run was cut from 250 to 100 and sold over the counter by the publisher. Sultry Night may prove less scandalous—and more desirable—now, especially after the Whitney Museum of American Art’s acclaimed exhibition of Wood’s work earlier this year.