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Sotheby's sale of the Collection of Giovanni & Gabriella Barilla exceeds expectations to realise $7,173,834
Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, A Capriccio of Classical Roman Ruins, oil on canvas, sold for £349,250, est. £120,000-180,000*. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- This afternoon the Single Owner sale of property from The Collection of Giovanni & Gabriella Barilla: Important Porcelain, Venetian Fine and Decorative Arts from their Residence in Geneva realised £4,575,733 / $7,173,834 / €5,503,686 well above the pre-sale estimate of £2.5 – 3.8 million. The auction was 89 % sold by lot and 96 % sold by value. The top lot was A Capriccio of Classical Roman Ruins by Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, which sold for £349,250 - almost twice its pre-sale high estimate of £120,000-180,000.

Descendants of the founder of the most important pasta producer in the world, Giovanni Barilla and in particular, his wife Gabriella, created one of the greatest collections of ceramics and porcelain in Europe. In an auction which attracted buyers from across the globe, tense bidding between collectors resulted in some spectacular prices for the Barillas’ exceptional early Meissen figures. A figure of Harlequin Alarmed, modelled by J.J. Kšndler, circa 1738-40 realised £121,250, more than three times its pre-sale estimate of £25,000 - £35,000.

Mario Tavella, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman, Europe, said: “It was a great honour for Sotheby’s to present the Barilla Collection and we are delighted with the outcome of today’s sale. Gabriella and Giovanni, who built this collection with such dedication and connoisseurship over many years, would have been thrilled to witness its enthusiastic reception by the market and the intensity with which bidders competed is testament to the Barilla’s passion and the quality and extreme rarity of these works.”

Other highlights include:

• A very fine mid eighteenth-century Italian fruitwood inlaid walnut and burr walnut bureau cabinet estimated at £100,000 - 150,000, which sold for £265,250.

• Marco Ricci, The rehearsal of an opera, oil on canvas, which sold for £103,250 against a pre-sale estimate of £60,000-£80,000.

• A very fine Italian walnut and parquetry cupboard, Venetian, circa 1730, which realised £103,250, against a pre-sale estimate of £15,000-30,000.

• A Meissen group of Pantalone and an actress, modelled by J.J Kšndler, circa 1738, estimated at £20,000-30,000 which sold for £87,650.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium.

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