Hammer time

Pete McKee's work always brings in good crowds
Pete McKee's work always brings in good crowds
Have your say

THREE paintings by city pop artist Pete McKee which capture the sights and sense of Sheffield’s music scene could raise more than £9,000 when they are sold at auction next week.

The works – League at The Limit, Sheffield Record, and Queue, Leadmill – are from the series ‘22 Views of Sheffield’ created by McKee in 2008, originally exhibited during November and December 2008 in The Bowery bar on Devonshire Street.

The paintings will go under the hammer at Christie’s in London next Tuesday, with an estimated pre-sale value of £3,000 to £4,000 each.

It will be the first time Pete McKee’s work has ever been sold at auction.

He said: “It’s a very funny feeling that my paintings will be on sale at such a prestigious saleroom as Christie’s!

“They’re from one of my most successful shows which sold out at the time. The man who bought them bought all three of the music-related ones in the show – he has a recording studio in Sheffield.

“If he makes his money back on them I’ll be happy. If he makes a bit more that’s great.

“But it’s all about desirability, not necessarily of the artist but the particular image.

“These are key pieces from the show but they’re very Sheffield-centric. So we’ll see how they do.”

Painted using household emulsion on MDF board, the series was inspired by the 45-year-old artist’s life in Sheffield, and each work is said to evoke one of his favourite memories.

League at The Limit, the ninth painting in the series of 22, celebrates the occasion in the early 1980s when McKee went to see city band The Human League at legendary West Street nightclub The Limit.

McKee, said: “There are those who saw The Sex Pistols at Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, and others who were at Leeds to see The Who. We had the League at The Limit.”

Sheffield Record, the 10th painting in the series, has been described by McKee as ‘this is us and the music that made the city’. It makes reference to Sheffield artists including Joe Cocker, ABC, Def Leppard, Heaven 17 and the Artic Monkeys.

And Queue, Leadmill – the 17th of the 22 pictures – depicts a group of young people from Sheffield waiting to see Pulp to play at The Leadmill nightclub, which according to McKee “revolutionised the Sheffield music scene”.

“We grew up overnight and outsiders took us seriously,” he said. “You felt part of something special as you queued in the cold to get in.”

The paintings will go under the hammer at Christie’s South Kensington’s Pop Culture: Rock and Pop Memorabilia Sale on Old Brompton Road.

Neil Roberts, head of the Pop Culture Department at Christie’s, said: “This will be the first time any of Pete McKee’s works have ever appeared at auction, so it will be a test of his collectability.

“He has just had an exhibition in London which was well-received, and he is a well-known artist among collectors, so it will be interesting to see how these paintings get on in the sale.”

Each signed and framed painting, accompanied by a card confirming provenance, measures 49 by 49 centimetres square.

n Log on to www.christies.com to see the sale catalogue and for details of how to bid.