Records tumble as Colourists go on sale

A PAINTING by the artist SJ Peploe set a record for a Scottish Colourist yesterday when it sold at auction for £623,650.

The 1912 picture, Tulips, eclipsed the record set in 2008 for his painting Roses, which went for 529,000.

The auction also saw a work by his fellow Colourist, FCB Cadell, smash the record for that artist. Cadell's Florian Caf, Venice, sold for 553,250.

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The previous highest price for a Cadell was 301,000 for his Carnations in 2008.

Both paintings were bought by unnamed British buyers, Sotheby's said, though rival bidders included several from overseas, particularly the United States. The prices underline the recovery of the art markets since the financial downturn of 2008 – particularly for quality works.

"Art is a place where people are happy to put their money as long as it's top-quality items," said Michael Grist, Sotheby's Scottish pictures specialist. He was delighted by the price achieved by "two superb and important works".

The sale may also be seen as a coup for Sotheby's, where Mr Grist took over in January after the departure of the auction house's veteran Scottish pictures expert, Andr Zlattinger, to a post at rival Christie's.

Sotheby's is now the only major auction house with dedicated sales of Scottish art, though it has recently staged them in London rather than Scotland.

The two works were the top lots in a Scottish pictures auction that notched up a total of 2.6 million.

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"The record-breaking prices are a testament to the quality and appeal of these wonderful pictures," Mr Grist said.