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BusinessBellany oil paintings to be auctioned

Bellany oil paintings to be auctioned

A COLLECTION of paintings of the Italian town of Barga is attracting interest ahead of an auction of Scottish contemporary art in Glasgow next month.

The four ‘Barga’ works by John Bellany were painted after the late artist bought a house in the medieval Tuscan town with his wife, Helen, in 2000.

The paintings were gifted to the family of his interpreter and close friend, Georgio Marchetti, with experts now estimating they could fetch £15,000 at the Scottish contemporary art auction.

McTears art specialist Makenzie Cool with a selection of John Bellany artworks Picture by Chris James
McTears art specialist Makenzie Cool with a John Bellany artwork Picture by Chris James

The Scottish contemporary art auction, where the paintings will be sold, will take place at McTear’s on March 6th.

Each of the works portrays a different street scene of Barga, which is described as the most Scottish town in Italy due to its long history of emigration.

Bellany loved the people, the food and the climate, with his close connection to the town resulting in the opening of a permanent gallery of his work in 2019.

Commenting on the auction, McTear’s Director, Magda Ketterer, said: “John Bellany is a giant of Scottish contemporary art, with his work admired and sought after by high profile collectors across the globe. 

“The time spent in Barga was one of the happiest of the artist’s long career and this shines through in the four works in the sale, which have a vibrancy and style that is unmistakably Bellany.

“We are already seeing significant interest in the paintings and we expect this to increase in the lead up to the auction.”

John Bellany’s paintings hang in a number of the world’s most prestigious galleries including the Gallery of Modern Art in New York and the Tate in London.

His work is also admired by some of the world’s most respected artists, Damien Hirst reportedly owned several of his paintings.

Bellany was born in the east coast fishing village of Port Seton in 1942 and went on to study at Edinburgh College of Art and later at the Royal College of Art in London.

The artist led a turbulent and, at times, dark existence, with a liver transplant in 1988 – as a result of his excessive drinking – and two heart attacks in 2005 almost ending his life prematurely. 

But Bellany continued to work after these events, using the experiences in some of his most powerful works, it’s been noted that after the liver transplant his work became more optimistic.

The ‘Barga’ collection will be joined by six other works at the McTear’s auction including a large oil o canvas, ‘woman of the North Sea’, which reflects his lifelong association with seafaring and fishing.

Other paintings include ‘the burden’ which has an estimate of £4000 to £6000 and the watercolour ‘Tam O’shanter’ which could fetch £5000.

In addition to Bellany’s works the auction will feature almost 300 impressive lots by a number of renowned Scottish artists including a large collection of Peter Howson paintings.

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