Life imitating art - LS Lowry's 'The Auction' expected to fetch up to £1.8m

'The Auction' is expected to fetch up to £1.8 million. Credit: Sotheby's Auction House

In a case of life imitating art, a painting by Streford-born artist LS Lowry depicting a packed auction house with the gavel about to come down on a sale, is to be sold at Sotheby’s auction house next month. It is estimated to reach up to £1.8m.

'The Auction' depicts a bustling auction room with familiar Lowry characters including a dog on a lead.

The large-scale painting which was completed in 1958 has never been offered at auction, and was acquired by the present owners over two decades ago.

LS Lowry Credit: PA

The painting was first exhibited at Manchester Art Gallery in 1959 as part of a retrospective exhibition.It has also been shown at London's Royal Academy of Art in 1976 and was last exhibited at AMNUA in China in 2014.Expects have estimated the painting could sell for anything between £1.2 - 1.8m when auctioned off as part of Sotheby’s Modern British Art Auction on November 23.Prior to the auction, the painting will go on display to the public between November 18 - 22.

The Auction is one of just a few interior paintings by the artist. Credit: Sotheby's

Frances Christie, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s UK & Ireland, said: "There can be few paintings more apt for auction than Lowry’s own auction scene, a work that captures the buzz of an auction in a manner that only Lowry, with his distinctive iconography, could."The artist was no stranger to auction himself, and as an avid collector of clocks and Pre-Raphaelite art, he indulged his passion with bids in salerooms from Manchester to London."He often kept track of his own pictures passing through Sotheby’s later in life, witnessing an appreciation for his work that formed a total contrast to the outset of his career when he struggled for recognition."The pleasing circularity of The Auction’s appearance at Sotheby’s would no doubt have satisfied Lowry’s wry sense of humour – a case of life imitating art.”

Prior to the auction, the painting will go on display to the public between November 18 -22. Credit: Sotheby's

Last month, a Lowry painting depicting a busy Stockport street sold at auction for £350,000.The oil on canvas painting was one of two by the artist to feature Stockport's Crowther Street.

Who was LS Lowry?

Born in 1887, Laurence Stephen Lowry spent much of his life in Salford and his work has become strongly connected to Greater Manchester.He is thought to have made around 1,000 paintings before his death in 1976, with more than 400 works housed at The Lowry theatre.

Lowry only ever painted a small handful of interior scenes – intimate family groups, a doctor’s surgery, an election rally and an outpatients’ hall – in each instance choosing subjects that resonated with him.