It's a question we are asked all the time at previews and viewings especially at The Scottish Contemporary Art Auctions. We always tend to answer "Buy a picture you love and if it turns out to be a really good investment, great!" If we are asked this question leading up to the next auction, we might just suggest lot 1707. It's an unbelievably good Robin Philipson "Rose Window" measuring a substantial 100cm x 100cm (39 x 39 inches). It's being sold by a private collector who has owned it "for at least thirty years". It's never appeared at auction before but Sir Robin did borrow the painting for important later exhibitions as an exceptional "not for sale" example of his famous Rose Window series.
So, the painting has the blessing and endorsement of its creator, a man whose post nominal letters rival most:
Sir Robin Philipson RA, PRSA, FRSA, RSW, RGI, DLitt, LLD
His credentials fill the page almost as impressively as his paint graced a canvas and are testament to the high esteem Philipson was held in as both an artist and a teacher. Although his popularity during his lifetime was considerable, the twenty two years since his death has seen a steady but consistent increase in his auction prices. As one gallery owner suggests on his website "Just like the Scottish Colourists, Philipson's time will come". The writer of this blog and many others also believe in the inevitability of Philipson becoming an even greater titan of Scottish, British and International art than he is already. Our convictions continue to be validated by how increasing well Philipson's work sells at auction. The most recent example being "Poppies", a slightly smaller canvas than "Rose Window", which sold at Sotheby's (London) on 22nd May 2014 for £68,500 (incl premium).
What's a good investment? Lot 1707 at a mere £6000 - 9000! There's no doubt that it's worth very much more than this modest catalogue estimate, but reserve prices can never be higher than the low estimate figure, so collectors have an equal opportunity to buy a mighty Philipson for a mighty modest price. However, don't just look at the online catalogue - come and see the painting .... but be prepared to be overwhelmingly seduced!