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Spare on BBC Antiques Roadshow

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Austin Osman Spare's 'Self-Janus (Combined)' was featured on BBC's Antiques Roadshow on Sunday 16 April 2017, with an assessment by art expert Rupert Maas.

Reference was made to Spare's brief relationship with 'warlock and very nasty piece of work' Aleister Crowley. Maas noted that AOS 'loses out in the market these days' as a result of all the 'frankly kooky stuff.' However, he has a 'devoted group of followers among which I would number myself.'

Valuation of £4,000 to £6,000 which seems a little low, based on recent auction performance.

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Jamie J Barter
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 1825

It's at 23:40, for those who can't be bothered to sit through the whole programme even for the usual attraction of watching the "Kerching" or signs of disappointment appear in owner's eyes...

The comments are typically asinine, needless to say, although for some strange reason one would hope for something slightly better coming from the BBC; Rupert Maas proves himself to be a bit of an aass with his ignorant comments there. Possibly his low estimation was because as an admirer he was hoping to buy it himself in a quick sale? (upon informing the owner of the value, who is nonetheless pleasantly surprised, he then asks him "does that mean you're going to sell it?" "Probably." "Ahh!") Also if the owner did actually accompany his father in person to Spare's Elephant and Castle studio back in 1937, that must make him in his mid to late eighties at the minimum, but he doesn't look it!

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Michael Staley
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 18 years ago
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I was really pleased to see this, having never seen one of these "double pictures" before. Spare's self-portraits are always interesting, and the Janus-like watercolour underneath was sumptuous too. Yes, I thought the estimate from Rupert Maas very low, but then he was clearly interested in buying it.

The idea that Spare "loses out in the market these days" due to some of his"frankly kooky stuff", is not bourne out by auction results over the last few years which have been extremely healthy. Maas has turned a bob or two over the years as a dealer in Spare.

I do seem to recall another Spare turning up on the Antiques Roadshow a few years ago now.