Tonights sale of Old Master & British Paintings at Sothebys
in London saw a new auction record established for Sir Anthony van Dyck - one of the most important artists to have worked in England - when his last Self Portrait soared above expectations and sold for £8,329,250/ 9,207,960/US$13,521,704. The portrait was the top-selling lot in a sale which realised £15,098,250/ 16,691,068/ US$24,510,499, within the pre-sale expectations of £12,340,000-18,410,000. Strong prices were also seen for works by the Dutch artist Cesar Boetius van Everdingen and the prominent British masters, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer and Samuel Scott.
The outstanding van Dyck Self Portrait was hotly pursued by nine bidders, who drove the price far above the pre-sale expectations of £2-3 million and established the record-breaking price. The painting was finally purchased by Alfred Bader in partnership with Philip Mould. Van Dyck painted the portrait in London in 1640 in the final months of his life. It is one of only three self portraits that he executed in England and this, his last, captures him dashingly attired in a black and white slashed silk doublet. Prior to this evenings sale, the painting had last appeared on the market in 1712 and it therefore came to the market with exemplary provenance, having been in the same family collection for almost 300 years. It was offered for sale tonight by the Earl of Jerseys Trust.
Discussing the record-price achieved for the van Dyck self portrait, David Moore Gwyn, Deputy Chairman, UK and Senior Specialist in Early British Paintings at Sothebys, said: This was without doubt the most important portrait by van Dyck to come to auction in my 33-year career at Sothebys. Over the last few weeks and months the painting has attracted an enormous amount of interest and we are absolutely thrilled with tonights record-breaking result, which is testament to the rare opportunity that its sale after 300 years in a family collection represented.
A hitherto unrecorded and unpublished painting by the Dutch artist Cesar Boetius van Everdingen was also the subject of considerable bidding battle this evening. It saw interest from six potential buyers who competed strongly and whose determined bids took the price to £1,161,250, which was 16 times the pre-sale estimate of £50,000-70,000. The remarkable painting provides a rare addition to the known oeuvre of one of the most important Dutch classicist painters of the mid-17th century.
The British master Sir Edwin Henry Landseer was represented this evening by an exceptional Highland scene which performed well and brought £937,250 against an estimate of £800,000-1.2 million. This ranks as the second highest price ever for a work by the artist at auction. Return from the Staghunt captures a peaceful moment at the end of a day of hunting adventure and it came to auction in a superb, untouched condition. The dramatic scenery of the Scottish Highlands had a profound influence on Landseer and his art and Scottish subjects came to dominate his oeuvre, with the most iconic of these being his hunting scenes.
Furthermore, the exquisitely detailed and superbly preserved Shipping at Anchor in the Thames Estuary, Near Wapping by Samuel Scott (circa 1702-1772) sold for £481,250, handsomely within an estimate of £400,000-600,000. Painted on a grand scale, the depiction of the great sailing vessels of the age is characteristic of Scotts most endearing work.