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Sotheby's Old Master Paintings Realise $41.9 M
A section of "The Kermesse of St. George", a painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM.- Sotheby's Old Master Paintings sales in London, which concluded Thursday 9 December 2004, proved a resounding success, achieving a combined total of £21,725,320 ($41,979,289).

The Part One sale, which took place last night, attracted large crowds and saw many strong prices. The highest price of the evening was for Pieter Brueghel the Younger's Kermesse of St. George - an extraordinarily powerful image of raucous excess. The painting was bought by an anonymous buyer for £3,701,600 ($7,161,115) - a price very close to the existing record for the artist (£3,853,500/$5,425,940 paid for lot 22 in Sotheby's London sale, July 2001).

Two works from the collection of Enrico Fattorini - founder of the Grattan Warehouse mail order business - performed particularly well. Peasants dancing outside an Inn, by Adrian van Ostade, realised £3,141,600 and a work by Jacob van Ruisdael (Two Undershot Water-Mills) made £2,469,600. Both works were bought by European private collectors and both established new auction records for the artists.

The Part Two sale, held Thursday, December 9, saw similarly strong results, with almost 70% of the works offered exceeding their pre-sale estimates - often by multiple factors.

The sales concluded today with an auction of 63 Spanish Old Master Paintings. This was the first ever sale at Sotheby's in London devoted to Spanish Old Masters and it was warmly received. Realising a total of £2,806,480/Euro 4,060,122/$5,405,280, the sale saw strong interest from across the globe. Six new auction records were established, and there was particularly strong demand both for early Spanish works and for Sevillian baroque paintings.

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