Sotheby’s to auction 150 Lenkiewicz works on 18 September

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  • #5685

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    Western Morning News article wrote:
    A collection of 150 works by Westcountry artist Robert Lenkiewicz is expected to fetch half a million pounds when it goes on sale this autumn.

    The paintings and drawings by the controversial Plymouth-based painter, who died in August last year, will be auctioned at Sotheby's in London on September 18.

    All stages of Lenkiewicz's career are represented in the sale - including the early work Group in Eton Avenue Studio, estimated at £10-15,000, and several character studies of homeless people in Plymouth. Two paintings of vagrant Les Ryder are expected to fetch £10,000-15,000 and £3,000-5,000 respectively.

    A portrait of the comedian Billy Connolly, estimated to fetch £3,000-5,000, is also included in the sale.

    Exeter fine art auctioneers Bearne's has advised on the sale, and the works can be viewed at the Westcountry auction house ahead of the London sale from September 4 to 6.

    Bearne's director Daniel Goddard said: "We are looking forward to having this fabulous collection on view at Bearne's. As an artist, Robert Lenkiewicz's work has always been especially appreciated locally."

    Freya Mitton, the Sotheby's specialist in charge of the sale, said: "We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to sell this fascinating collection of works from the studio of one of the most controversial artists of the late 20th century. The varied group of works reflects all aspects of the artist's oeuvre and Sotheby's hopes that by selling the collection - many with very affordable estimates - Lenkiewicz's artwork will attract the international appeal that it truly deserves."

    It is hoped that the sale of the paintings will help to ensure the artist's remaining works can be kept in the Westcountry.

    Lenkiewicz estate executor Peter Walmsley said: "We hope that by selling these paintings that they will be able to retain the remaining works and display them in Plymouth."

    For more information or to buy a catalogue, call Sotheby's on 020 7293 5555.
    #6635

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    You can now browse the catalogue for this auction on the Sothebys’ web site.

    #6636

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    Plymouth Evening Herald wrote:
    It was the painting former Beirut hostage Terry Waite had completely forgotten about.

    And when he was confronted yesterday with his likeness, painted by the late Plymouth artist Robert Lenkiewicz, he could have been forgiven for wishing he had not been reminded of it.

    Mr Waite was not exactly bowled over by the half-finished image which depicts him with an obscure squint, and is unlikely to pay the reserve price of £2,000-£3,000.

    But he remains a big fan of the artist whose paintings will be auctioned at Sotheby's in Olympia, London on September 18.

    Mr Waite was reunited with the portrait after the Evening Herald spotted the painting being removed from Lenkiewicz's studio for sale and contacted him.

    The former hostage sat for the artist twice when he was in Plymouth, but the painting was never finished.

    Mr Waite greeted his first view of the painting for more than four years with a wry smile.

    "My first impression of the painting makes me question whether it's unfinished, or I'm unfinished. I have to ask myself if I really look as stupid as that. I guess I probably do.

    "It's actually better from a distance. You can see it might have been a good likeness when it was finished."

    Mr Waite said he would not be parting with money at the auction. "I'm certainly not going to buy it. If I bought it my wife would go mad. It would probably bring to an end 40 years of married life."

    Mr Waite met Lenkiewicz in the late 1990s on a visit to Plymouth. "Robert got to hear of this. He knew I was patron of an organisation for the homeless called Emmaus. He was very interested in the homeless and said he would like to meet me, not just because of my experience with the homeless but because of what I had been through," he said.

    "In my opinion he was an eccentric genius. He was a remarkably good painter. His works were of outstandingly good quality. I was also impressed by his collection of books because I'm interested in books.

    "I thought he was an extremely fascinating character, totally unorthodox - but then many creative geniuses are like that."

    Mr Waite, who became friends with Lenkiewicz and even opened one of his exhibitions in Plymouth, said that following his first sitting there was a lengthy period before he returned, and the last time he saw the picture it was two sittings away from being completed. "It hasn't changed much since I saw it and, to be honest, I had forgotten about it until the Evening Herald contacted me," he said.

    "I rather regret that I never went back and had it finished. I think he would have probably made a very good job of it."

    More than 100 of Lenkiewicz's paintings are to be sold at Sotheby's and the collection is expected to fetch £500,000 which will help settle debts accumulated by his estate.

    Mr Waite added that it was 'extremely sad' that the artist's collection of paintings and books was being broken up and not preserved as a unique collection in Plymouth.
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