Late Scottish artist Joan Eardley's 1945 work The Mixer Men is to auction at Lyon & Turnbull tomorrow (May 30).
Valued at £30,000 ($45,182), the oil on canvas, which has been referenced by all of Eardley's biographers, hails from the artist's student-era, which she spent predominantly in Glasgow.
Lyon & Turnbull's Nick Curnow comments: "This painting represents a rare opportunity to purchase what is widely viewed as a landmark work."
By dint of its palette and painterly style, critics have likened The Mixer Men to fauvist paintings by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh.
The value of Eardley's work has risen gradually during the past 10 years.
In December 2004, an Eardley landscape brought £13,000 ($19,572) to Bonhams, while in August 2008 two Eardley pastel drawings made £85,250 ($128,359) and £32,450 ($48,859), respectively, at Sotheby's.
The present, large-scale oil on canvas was exhibited "on the line" at the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1944 - a rare honour for a recent graduate.
Curnow insists that the painting evidences the notion "that her distinctive aesthetic took shape early on".
With contemporary artists such as Jackson Pollock and Jean-Michel Basquiat commanding astronomical sums at auction, investors are increasingly looking to rediscover "forgotten" artists.
Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla is just such a figure. May 23 saw Sorolla's Ninos en la playa sell for £2.8m ($4.2m). In 2001, you could pick up a signed Sorolla - Children Playing in a Boat - for £52,250 ($78,650).
If Eardley's The Mixer Men meets its estimate, the sale could prove a watershed moment in terms of prices achieved by the artist at auction.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we have a large selection of fine art and photography collectibles in stock.