LS Lowry pencil drawing brings new auction record

A new auction record for an LS Lowry pencil drawing has been achieved by Agecroft Regatta, which sold at Bonhams London yesterday (May 29) for £211,250 ($320,538).

It is a 74.2% increase on the previous record of £121,250 ($184,521), set in November 2011 by sketch Swinbury Station.

Lowry and Hockney auction
Agecroft Regatta is Lowry's most valuable work on paper to date

The appeal of Agecroft Regatta is easy to ascertain. Signed and dated "LS Lowry 1942", the bustling tableau boasts features and techniques that have come to typify works by the Lancashire-born artist.

Lowry's quintessential "matchstick men" populate the banks of the River Irwell in order to survey the sporting scene beyond - the annual boat race between Agecroft Rowing club and the Manchester University team - while vaulting chimneys loom large in the background, hinting at the North's industrial might.

The vast majority of Lowry's works feature Manchester and the surrounding areas, "recording the inner life of British cities more powerfully than any other artist", according to Guardian art critic Jonathon Jones, who argues that Lowry represents the first "grime artist".

His Piccadilly Circus and The Football Match, 1949 jointly hold the auction record for his work: £5.6m ($8.9).

Works by Yorkshire lad David Hockney also proved popular among collectors. The living artist's 1959 oil on board brought £97,250 ($147,589), selling at the lower end of its £80,000-120,000 ($120,000-180,000) estimate.

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