inaugural Old Masters and 19th Century Art Evening Sale realised £20,284,400 / $32,840,444 / 23,550,188, and was 76% sold by lot and 91% sold by value. Offering important paintings, drawings and watercolours representing nearly 700 years of European history, the sale took place in a packed saleroom and saw 4 works sell for over £1 million.
The top lots were The Madonna and Child in a landscape with Saint Elizabeth and the infant Saint John the Baptist by Fra Bartolommeo (1472-1517) and a masterpiece Venetian view by Michele Marieschi (1710-1743), both of which realised £2,169,250 / $3,512,016 / 2,518,499.
Richard Knight, International co-Head of Old Masters and 19th century Art at Christies and Paul Raison, Director and Head of Old Masters and 19th Century Art at Christies, London: We saw a deep pool of both new and established international collectors participating in this evenings auction, and we are pleased to have produced strong results throughout. We are continuing to see a very strong demand for classical paintings, drawings and watercolours and this evening we saw a noticeable increase in new clients and cross-over buying as we presented the first Old Masters and 19th Century Art evening sale. The exhibition leading up to the auction was as busy as we have seen for some years, and we were pleased to welcome both new and established private collectors from Europe, South America and the United States, many of whom had travelled to London for Master Paintings Week.
Highlights of the sale:
- The Madonna and Child in a landscape with Saint Elizabeth and the infant Saint John the Baptist, a signed and dated picture by the Florentine Renaissance master Fra Bartolommeo (1472-1517) realised £2,169,250 / $3,512,016 / 2,518,499, a world record price for the artist at auction. It was offered from the distinguished collection of Brenda, Lady Cook having once formed a part of the renowned Cook Collection at Doughty House, Richmond.
- A masterpiece by Michele Marieschi (1710-1743) which was commissioned by Field Marshal Count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg (1661-1747) one of the great patrons of the 18th century, and which hung in the entrance hall of his home in Venice, realised £2,169,250 / $3,512,016 / 2,518,499.
- Saint John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness by Pieter Brueghel II (1564/5-1637/8) was offered at auction for the first time in 70 years from the collection of Baron Coppée and sold for £1,497,250 / $2,424,048 / 1,738,307.
- An exquisite still life by Willem Claesz. Heda (1594-1680) realised £1,385,250 / $2,242,720 / 1,608,275 against a pre-sale estimate of £300,000 to £500,000, setting a world record price for the artist at auction.
- Portrait of Mrs. Oliver St. John, later Lady Poulett by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), an impressive full length portrait by the great Flemish master, sold for £881,250 / $1,426,744 / 1,023,131. The picture was formerly in the collection of the 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609-1674), the historian, statesman and collector whose daughter married the future King James II of England, King James VII of Scotland. It had been unseen in public since 1929.
Further highlights included an intimate drawing by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) of Joseph Marcotte, the son of his close friend and patron Charles Marcotte, which was offered at auction for the first time having passed by family descent, and which sold for £313,250 / $507,152 / 363,683; Off Yarmouth: A Steamship off the Coast in Rough Weather, a dynamic watercolour by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. (1775-1851), which realised £301,250 / $487,724 / 349,751; A cornfield with windmill and spire seen under a crescent moon by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881) which sold for £121,250 / $196,304 / 140,771; and the impressive Portrait of a lady with a fan by Franz-Xavier Winterhalter (1805-1873), one of the most celebrated portraitists of the 19th century, which realised £229,250 / $371,156 / 266,159.