December series of Old Master & British Paintings sales in London concluded yesterday having realised an overall total of £27,991,125 / $44,040,725 / 33,454,918, which is comfortably within pre-sale expectations. Wednesday nights Evening Sale which realised £23,577,700 and established a new auction record for the British master George Stubbs was followed by yesterdays Day Sale, which brought £4,413,525. These sales bring the total for worldwide sales of Old Master & British Pictures at Sothebys this year to $242,035,521 - a figure which sees Sothebys continue its domination in the field of Old Master Paintings for a tenth successive year.** Sothebys has also dominated in the combined category of Old Master & British Paintings since British Paintings were first introduced to its Old Master Evening Sales in 2007.
The undoubted highlight of this years December sale series was George Stubbs's Brood Mares and Foals, one of the British masters most ambitious and successful works and arguably his finest painting ever to come to the market. The painting, which made its first ever appearance on the open market, sold for £10,121,250 / $15,906,556 /12,096,885, a price that represents a new auction record for a work by the British master, by a wide margin. (The previous auction record for a work by George Stubbs was £3,191,500 / $5,079,579 and this was set by his Portrait of The Royal Tiger, which sold in June 1995).
Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale Wednesday, December 8
Pre-sale estimate: £20,360,000-30,030,000
73% Sold by Lot and 93% Sold by Value
Buyer breakdown: UK (38%), Rest of Europe (40%), USA (13%), Asia (6%), Rest of World (3%)
Old Master & British Paintings Day Sale Thursday, December 9
Pre-sale estimate: £3,522,000-5,178,000
59% Sold by Lot and 76% Sold by Value
Discussing the results of the series and the year, Alex Bell, International Department Head and Co-Chairman of Old Master Paintings Worldwide, said: Our sales this week end what has been another very successful year for the Old Master market at Sothebys. As in New York in January and London in July, weve once again this week seen exceptional works of art - with strong and striking images and good provenance - perform very well and in many cases establish new benchmark prices. In July we led the Old Master sales season with Turners Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino, while Stubbss Brood Mares and Foals has been the undoubted star of the show this week. Were delighted to see that the Old Master market is experiencing an even greater international reach, with buyers from Russia and China, in particular, showing an ever increasing interest in the field. These are exciting developments for the Old Master market.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF OLD MASTER & BRITISH PAINTINGS AT SOTHEBYS IN 2010
New York in January 2010:
Sir Anthony van Dycks Two Studies of a Bearded Man, which sold for $7.2 million
Hendrick Goltziuss restituted masterpiece Jupiter and Antiope, which brought $6.8 million
A pair of Venice scenes by Canaletto brought $3.9 million
A Portrait of a Woman, called La Belle Ferronnière by a Follower of Leonardo da Vinci tripled its high estimate to sell for $1.5 million
The dedicated sale of Old Master Drawings totaled $3.3 million
London in July 2010:
J.M.W. Turners masterpiece Modern Rome Campo Vaccino sold to Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox on behalf of The J. Paul Getty Museum in California for £29.7 million a record for the artist at auction
Three works by the great Brueghel dynasty all performed well and brought a combined total of £5.7 million
Jan Lievens study of the head and shoulders of an old bearded man wearing a cap sold for £2.5 million
The two Old Master Drawings sales (the various owner sale and Master Drawings from a Distinguished European Collection) realised an overall total of £4.9 million
* Pre-sale estimates do not include buyers premium
** Old Master Paintings are traditionally defined as paintings by Continental European artists dating from circa 1300 to 1800