The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, March 23, 2019

Rubens, Canova and Turner lead $100 million sale week in London
Harry Dalmeny fielding bids. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- This week’s sales concluded today with a combined total of £77.7 million / $102.6 million, with strong results across Old Master and British paintings and drawings, decorative arts, sculptures and antiquities spanning over two millennia.


• Total up 70% on last December.

• Participants spanning four continents, with buying from Asia, Russia and Latin America.

• 77.3% of lots sold.

• More than half of the lots achieved prices above top estimates.

• 10 auction records for Paolo Veneziano, Gillis Claeissens, Hans Baldung (called Grien), a work attributed to Albrecht Dürer, a single portrait by Rubens (in GBP), oil on copper by Clara Peeters (in GBP), Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder, Lorenzo di Bicci, Liberale da Verona, Vicente Carducho.

• Fresh-to-the-market works: almost half of the lots offered in the Evening sale had not appeared on the market for over 40 years.

• Over 7,100 people visited our galleries over the five-day exhibition. A further 1,250 saw our collaborative show at Victoria Beckham’s cutting-edge store on Dover Street.

Highlights of the Evening Sale
A Great Night for Dutch and Flemish Painting:

The category totalled £21.6 million, above estimate (est. £12,755,000-19,750,000).

• A rare portrait by Sir Peter Paul Rubens made £5,416,400, a landmark price for a single portrait by the artist in GPB (est. £3-4 million). Unseen on the market for 60 years, since it was acquired by the great Dutch collector Hans Wetzlar, this remarkable depiction of a Venetian Nobleman was cherished by the artist who kept it until his death in 1640.

• A newly-restituted work by Dutch Golden Age master, Jacob Ochtervelt, fetched £1,930,000 (est. £1.5-2.5 million). Looted from a bank vault during World War II, The Oyster Meal was recently returned to the heirs of its rightful wartime owner.

• Works from the Van Dedem Collection, one of Europe’s finest private collections of Dutch and Flemish masterpieces, put together by the great Dutch connoisseur, Baron Willem van Dedem totalled £7,401,750 (est. £3.8-5.2 million), with more lots offered in the Old Masters Day sale.

• A still life by Clara Peeters was bought for £634,000 by agent and dealer David Koetser for the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The price achieved was an auction record for an oil on copper by the artist in GBP (est. £250,000-350,000).

Portraits high in demand, especially Northern Renaissance works
• A rare early portrait of a man with a spotted fur collar by Lucas Cranach the Elder, probably painted in 1508, sold for £2,410,000 (est. £1.5-2 million).

• A late 15th-century portrait of Mary of Burgundy, Netherlandish or South German School, achieved £2,050,000 (est. £1-1.5 million).

• A striking portait of a man against a green background attributed to Albrecht Dürer, probably from the second part of the 1490s, soared to £1,150,000, the highest price ever paid at auction for a work attributed to Dürer (est. £300,000-400,000).

• A group of four exceptionally rare panels painted in Northern Europe circa 1418-25 doubled the low estimate and sold for £2,650,000 (est. £1-1.5 million).

British Paintings 100% Sold
• One of only two oil views of ‘London’ by Turner left in private hands, Walton Bridges sold for £3,370,000 (est. £3-5 million).

• All 5 lots offered in this category found buyers with a combined total of £7,154,000 (est.£6 – 9.4 million).

The Old Masters Day Sale realised a total of £4,604,625 with a number of highlight works selling well above their pre-sale estimates. The top lot of the sale was a work by Dutch portrait and genre painter, Caspar Netscher whose oil on canvas, The Fortune Teller, more than tripled its high estimate to fetch £274,000 (est. £60,000-80,000).

A new auction record was established for Antonio Canova, the greatest Neoclassical sculptor, when his long-lost Bust of Peace sold for £5,303,500 – surpassing the artist’s previous auction record of £3.9 million set by ‘Bust of Murat’, in November 2017. Autograph Canova marbles are exceptionally rare on the art market and the appearance of this exceptional work with matchless provenance dating back all the way to its conception in 1814 caused a great deal of excitement. A telephone battle broke out as the successful buyer was determined to win out, driving the final sale price to a figure far beyond pre-sale expectations.

A watch used by the great British hero, Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson to orchestrate the Royal Navy’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar sold for £322,000 (est. £250,000-450,000). Now mounted in a gilt-brass carriage clock case, this pocket watch was carried by Nelson during his final battle and retrieved from his wounded body before he died.

A stunning Swiss landscape by Britain’s favourite artist, J.M.W. Turner sold for £2,050,000 (est. £1.2-1.8 million), among the top prices ever achieved for a watercolour by the artist. Created in the final years of the artist’s life and widely considered to be the pinnacle of his achievements in the medium, The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen depicts one of the most dramatic landscapes in the Swiss Alps, capturing the view over the picturesque village of Brunnen on the eastern shores of Lake Lucerne.

A further highlight was the preparatory study by Pierre Prévost for an extraordinary lost panorama of London which sold for £250,000 (est. £200,000-300,000). Measuring over 6-metres in length, this extraordinary vista of London which offers a unique view of the city in the early 19th century was unknown until very recently.

The sale of Royal Orders and medals from the collection of George, Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904), King George III’s grandson – in associated with Morton & Eden – brought a total of £1,559,565, far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of £798,390-1,144,760. All but five of the 80 lots sold, with over 77% of these selling for above their pre-sale high estimates.

The early British material attracted strong interest with the superb Lesser George sash badge of The Most Noble Order of the Garter, with a cameo by the celebrated gem engraver Benedetto Pistrucci, achieving £168,750 (est. £100,000-150,000). German, Russian and other world insignia were all keenly contested and the Siamese order of the Maha Chakri substantially exceeded expectations when it sold for £85,000 against an estimate of £2,000-30,000. The sale concluded with two Field Marshals’ batons dating from 1821, carried by the First Duke of Cambridge and by the Duke of Gloucester at King George IV’s coronation, which sold for £77,500 and £72,500 respectively (est. £30,000-40,000 each).

The Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art sale brought a total of £3,551,813 against a pre-sale estimate of £2,021,200-2,977,900. The top lot was a superbly carved boxwood Christ which sold for £1,138,000, soaring over its pre-sale estimate of £200,000-300,000. This exciting recent addition to the oeuvre of Veit Stoss, the leading Late Gothic sculptor celebrated as 'the Master of Crucifixes', is the only known surviving small-scale version of this subject that can be attributed to the master’s hand.

An exceptional mid-17th century bronze group of Apollo slaying a Python, a newly discovered cast of a model that has traditionally been attributed to Ferdinando Tacca (1619-1686), sculptor to the Medici in Florence, flew above estimate to £466,000 (est. £120,000-180,000).

The sale saw strong results for marbles: two rare additions to the oeuvre of Giacomo Serpotta, representing Europe and America and powerfully symbolising the interaction between the burgeoning New World and the Old (circa 1720-1730), achieved £225,000 (est. £200,000-300,000), while an exquisite pair of sculptures attributed to Giovanni Battista Foggini, of Lucretia and Pompeia Paulina representing a noble pairing of moral tragic heroines (circa 1700), sold for £200,000 (est. £180,000-250,000).

The sale of Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art sale soared above the pre-sale estimate of £3.2-4.7 million to bring £5,445,000 – the highest result for the series since it began in London in May 2016. 70% of sold lots went above the high estimate.

The sale was led by an Egyptian indurated limestone figure of the Scribe Nekht-Ankh dating to circa 1800-1700 B.C. The cloaked figure had been on display in the Main Hall at Palais Stoclet since 1905, amidst the frescoes and mosaics of Gustav Klimt, and sold for £1.5 million (est. £1-1.5 million).

A Roman marble funerary altar from the 1st century A.D., first recorded in the garden of Agostino Andrea Chigi’s villa, at the same time that Raphael was painting the interior, sold for £187,500, over three times the high estimate (£45,000-60,000). A Roman marble torso of Hermes from the 2nd century A.D. provoked a lengthy bidding battle which saw the messenger god fly three times over the high estimate to bring £218,750 (est. £45,000-65,000). A rediscovered Roman wall-painting fragment which once hung in Horace Walpole’s gothic castle, Strawberry Hill House, sold for £16,250 (est. £15,000-25,000). Two ancient Egyptian mummy masks mesmerised buyers, selling for £162,500 (est. £60,000-90,000) and £200,000 (est. £100,000-150,000) respectively.

Ancient jewellery saw strong results, with all four lots selling far above estimate: a pair of Greek gold earrings sold for £40,000 (est. £15,000-25,000); an Egyptian glass and carnelian bead necklace sold for £16,250 (est. £7,000-10,000); a gold torque, probably Sarmatian, sold for £68,750 (est. £10,000-15,000), and a Sarmatian gold lion griffin head appliqué sold for £112,500 (est. £3,500-4,500).

Today's News

July 6, 2018

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Michael Eastman's color photographs of the architecture of Havana on view at the Sheldon Museum of Art

France, UK in Bayeux Tapestry conservation push

Rubens, Canova and Turner lead $100 million sale week in London

Met Museum sets new attendance record with more than 7.35 million visitors

Claude Lanzmann, director of Holocaust film 'Shoah', dies at 92

Tate St Ives wins £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018

Otto Naumann to join Sotheby's Old Masters Division

Erwin Wurm's first large-scale exhibition in Budapest opens at Ludwig Museum

Karen R. Lawrence named President of The Huntington

The Hepworth Wakefield announces plans for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017 £100,000 prize money

'Anish Kapoor: Works, Thoughts, Experiences' opens at Serralves Contemporary Art Museum

Anger over charity auction of night in Mandela's cell

Cube Gallery opens exhibition of works by Anna Masters

Beijing eyes UNESCO status for Mao tomb, Tiananmen Square

Sadie Coles HQ exhibits works by Daniel Sinsel at Simone Subal Gallery for CONDO New York 2018

Rare portrait of Sir Francis Drake top lot at Bonhams

M+ opens its first interdisciplinary exhibition to explore Southeast Asia

New, multi-channel sound installation by Shilpa Gupta on view at YARAT Contemporary Art Space

Leading Scottish and international artists sell art from car boots, bikes and skateboards

China Guardian Spring Auctions 2018 conclude in Beijing with remarkable results

A 'Japanese tip': the origami art left by diners

Nelson's Victory Watch for the Battle of Trafalgar sells for $425,523 at Sotheby's London

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