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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2004, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Lenkiewicz collection to be sold
Lenkiewicz paintings
The artist kept the body of a tramp in his studio
A human skeleton and an Egyptian sarcophagus are among items once owned by the late Devon artist Robert Lenkiewicz to go on sale next month.

About 400 paintings and drawings by the Plymouth-based portrait artist, famed for embalming the body of a tramp he befriended, will also be sold.

Auctioneers Bearne's estimate the 600-lot sale in Exeter on 23 October will raise about 500,000.

Lenkiewicz, who died in August 2002 at the age of 60 left debts of about 1m.

'Necessary evil'

Many of the artist's studio props - including mannequin hands, human skulls, a crystal ball and a coffin - will be sold alongside hundreds of his works with list prices of between 30 and 12,000.

Bearne's director Daniel Goddard said anyone with an interest in Lenkiewicz's work was welcome to attend the two viewing days at Exeter's Westpoint arena on 21 and 22 October.

He said: "It will effectively be a fantastic free exhibition for anyone to come to."

Robert Lenkiewicz
Robert Lenkiewicz created around 750 works during his lifetime

The human skeleton is expected to fetch 200 to 300 and the Egyptian sarcophagus, which is dated to between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC, has a list price of 2,000 to 3,000.

Peter Walmsley, executor of Lenkiewicz's estate, said the sale was a "necessary evil" to help pay off the huge debts the artist left at his death.

The estate retains about 400 paintings, of which it is hoped approximately 160 can be kept as a representative selection of Lenkiewicz's work.

The sale does not include Lenkiewicz's most controversial acquisitions, such as the embalmed body of his friend Diogenes the tramp.

A previous auction of 155 Lenkiewicz works at Sotheby's in London last September raised a total of 781,140.

Record bid for artist's work
18 Sep 03  |  Devon
'Inflated' art prices condemned
11 Oct 02  |  England

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