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John Bellany painting could fetch up to £50,000 at auction

An early painting by the late John Bellany could fetch up to £50,000 when it goes under the hammer later this month.

The Players is one of 10 Bellany works which will feature in the Scottish Contemporary Art Auction due to take place at McTear’s in Glasgow on March 28.

Completed in 1967, it was created during a period when the artist, from Port Seton in East Lothian, was producing some of his most memorable works as he embraced the cultural delights of London during his time at the Royal College of Art there.

The large oil on board features the artist himself as he and a long-haired companion play musical instruments.

McTear’s director Magda Ketterer said: “These early pieces are amongst Bellany’s finest, with renowned London Evening Standard art critic Brian Sewell going as far as to compare the artist’s work during this period to Rembrandt.

“It is rare for these early oil on board works to come to auction and we are already seeing interest growing amongst potential bidders.”

Experts at McTear’s estimate The Players could fetch £30,000 to £50,000.

A large oil on canvas titled The Portrait of Albert Irvin RA, painted in 1987 and estimated at £8,000 to £12,000, is another of the Bellany works featuring in the 245-lot auction.

Works by Bellany appear in the collections of a number of celebrities and many renowned art galleries around the world, including the Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in the UK and the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

McTear’s said that collector demand has never been higher for work by Bellany, who died in 2013 aged 71.

In 2022 The Finnon Smoker sold for a hammer price of £80,000 while The Bass Rock Fable achieved a hammer price of £12,000 in the same auction.