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Sotheby's Old Masters Week sales bring a strong total of $73.1 million
Pieter de Hooch, Interior with a Child Feeding a Parrot. Est. $1.5/2 million. Sold for: $3,666,500 (£2,341,166). Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s annual Old Masters Week auctions in New York concluded today with a strong cumulative total of $73,052,668. Thursday’s sale of Important Old Master Paintings & Sculpture brought $62,081,477, and was highlighted by five remarkable pictures that achieved prices over $4 million – led by Canaletto’s View of the Churches of the Redentore and San Giacomo… from the Estate of Lady Forte that sold for $5,682,500 (est. $5/7 million*), and Lucas Cranach the Elder’s portrait Lucretia that brought $5,122,500 (est. $4/6 million). On Wednesday, the auction of Old Master Drawings achieved $5,640,813 – the highest result for an auction in this category at Sotheby’s New York since 1998. The sale featured an Italian Renaissance Portrait of a Young Man attributed to Piero del Pollaiuolo, which sold to the J. Paul Getty museum in California for $1,398,500 – well above its $400,000 high estimate. Friday’s auctions of Masterworks and Old Master & 19th Century European Art added a combined $5,330,387 to the week’s total.

Regarding Thursday’s auction, George Wachter, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings department, and Christopher Apostle, Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings department in New York, commented: “We are pleased with the results of this week’s sale, which again demonstrated that works of high quality and condition that are fresh to the market continue to bring exceptional prices – evidenced by each of the top ten works in our auction achieving over $2 million. In the days before the sale we saw broad geographical interest in our exhibition, which translated to bidding from Europe, North and South America, and Asia. We are particularly encouraged by the strong demand for Italian painting, with early pictures and gold grounds performing particularly well.”

Important Old Master Paintings & Sculpture – 26 January
Thursday’s sale began with several top prices for Italian Renaissance paintings, including two new artist records: one for Fra Bartolommeo, whose Saint Jerome in the Wilderness from the collection of the late Dodie Rosekrans more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate of $2 million to achieve $4,898,500, and one for Simone Martini, whose rediscovered work The Virgin Annunciate from the early-14th century brought $4,114,500 (est. $3/4 million). Also leading the sale early was Madonna and Child with the Young Baptist, Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata in the Distance by Sandro Botticelli and Studio, which sold for $4,562,500 above a high estimate of $1.5 million. The panel was part of the famous collection of William Fuller Maitland by the mid-19th century.

In addition to the Venetian view painting by Canaletto, the Estate of Lady Forte also featured Pieter de Hooch’s elegant and engaging Interior with a Child Feeding a Parrot, which brought $3,666,500 above a high estimate of $2 million. And another artist record was set at the end of the morning session, when Charles-Antoine Coypel’s Roland and the Marriage of Angelique achieved $3,554,500 – well in excess of its $900,000 high estimate.

The selection of sculpture on offer in the afternoon was led by An Important Pair of Italian Glazed Terracotta Relief Portraits of Youths by Andrea Della Robbia that sold for $1,650,500 (est. $400/600,000). The two exceptionally fine portrait roundels probably represent young Florentine noblemen, and were sculpted in Florence circa 1470-80. Sculpture in today’s sale was also highlighted by An Important English White Marble Portrait Bust of Alexander Pope, Attributed to Louis François Roubiliac circa 1741 that brought $362,500 (est. $300/500,000).

Old Master Drawings – 25 January
In addition to the Portrait of a Young Man that led Wednesday’s sale, works that well exceeded their pre-sale expectations included: Thomas Gainsborough’s Seated Woman, which brought $314,500 above a high estimate of $150,000; an album of 17th-century text and illustrations by a follower of Sir Peter Paul Rubens that more than tripled its high estimate of $90,000 in achieving $302,500; and a double-sided sheet of studies attributed to Cornelis Engebrechtsz that sold for $158,500 (est. $15/20,000).

*Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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January 28, 2012

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