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John Hoyland
Lyon & Turnbull, London
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by Simon Todd

For the London art scene, Sept. 27, 2008 -- the date for the upcoming contemporary art sale at the Lyon & Turnbull auction house -- promises to be particularly controversial, and on two separate fronts. The Scotland-based Lyon & Turnbull (est. 1826), which launched a joint marketing campaign with Philadelphia’s Freeman’s Auctioneers in 2000, made a splash with its inaugural London sale this January, held at the Royal Academy and featuring British artwork of the ‘60s from the Deloitte Art Collection. Among the notable lots was John Hoyland’s large acrylic abstraction, 17.7.69, which sold for £155,000, well above its presale estimate of £20,000-£30,000 -- a feat that did its bit to reposition the art of Swinging London as part of today’s Cool Britannia.