Barbara Hepworth sculpture auctions for $3.6m record

An abstract sculpture by late British artist Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), entitled Curved Form (Bryher II), has auctioned at Christie's London for £2.4m ($3.6m) - a new world record price for a work by the artist at auction.

Barbara Hepworth auction
Casts of the dynamic Curved Form (Bryher II) reside in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The sale price represents a 60.9% increase on the 1961 work's £1.5m top estimate, suggesting collectors and investors are hungry for sculptural works by Britain's finest post-war artists.

A second Barbara Hepworth sculpture is to cross the auction block at Sotheby's tomorrow. Executed in 1956, the sculpture is estimated to be worth £250,000 ($381,100), however, the present result suggests it may achieve significantly more.

Christie's Modern British Art auction (July 10) realised a total of £9.9m ($14.7m).

Head of modern British art at Christie's, Andre Zlattinger, asserts: "The auction was rich in British sculpture and we are particularly pleased with the prices achieved for Hepworth's Curved Form (Bryher II)… and [Dame Elisabeth] Frink's Seated Man II, both of which set world record prices for the artists at auction."

Frink's Seated Man II sold for £817,875 ($1.2m) - a 63.4% increase on its £500,000 high valuation.

Zlattinger attests to the auction's international flavour: "As well as British clients, we welcomed collectors from around the world including the US and Asia, bidding on the telephones, in the room and via Christie's LIVE."

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