This evening, an unprecedented level of participation from new markets propelled Sotheby’s
London Evening Sale of Old Master & British Paintings to £35,048,000. Collectors from 33 countries took part in the sale with record numbers from Asia and the Middle East. More than 400 years since El Greco executed Saint Dominic in Prayer in early 17th century Toledo, bidders from new markets battled tenaciously for this this powerfully expressive work which was appearing at auction for the first time. They drove the price to £9,154,500 (est. £3-5million), a new record for a Spanish Old Master and the highest price across London’s Old Masters sales this week.
In total, 8 auction records tumbled tonight, including that for Claude-Joseph Vernet, whose outstanding View of Avignon from the right bank of the Rhône outstripped pre-sale expectations to realise £5,346,500 (est. £3-5million). A new auction record for a female Old Master artist was also established when Rachel Ruysch’s Still Life of roses from 1710 achieved £1,650,000 (est. £1-1.5million).
• The sale featured two works by El Greco – the first time in living memory that two masterworks by the artist were offered in the same auction: Saint Dominic in Prayer, £9,154,500 (est: £3.5-5m) set a record for a painting by a Spanish artist, Christ on the Cross sold for £3,442,500 (est: £3-5m).
• Over 40% of lots sold achieved prices above presale estimates
• 8 new artist records established
• 7 lots over £1 million
“The greatest Old Master paintings have a timeless quality that transcends their era and gives them a relevance to audiences today, as tonight’s global bidding and record result for El Greco’s “St Dominic in Prayer” attest. The dialogue between Old and New is injecting fresh energy into our field. We’re now firmly in a new era, where clients from new markets are collecting Old Masters in new ways. Our response has been to offer the most exciting and diverse works we can find – and to present them in a more contemporary way.” - Alex Bell, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings -
NEW AUCTION RECORDS:
• El Greco, Saint Domenic in prayer - £9,154,500 (est. £3-5 million)
• Claude-Joseph Vernet, A View of Avignon - £5,346,500 (est. 3-5 million)
• Giandomenico Tiepolo, The celebrated deeds of the Porto family of Vicenza - £3,218,500 (est. £3-5 million)
• Rachel Ruysch, Still Life - £1,650,500 (est. £1-1.5 million)
• Christoffel Van Den Berghe, Tulips, Roses, Narcissi - £626,500 (est. £250,000-350,000) Over three times the price achieved for the work in 2003 of $290,000 (£176,840)
• Francesco Botticini, The Madonna and Child - £494,500 (est. £150,000-200,000)
• Bartholomeus Grondonck, Kermesse of Oudenarde, - £266,500 (est. £120,000-180,000)
• Paulin-Jean-Baptiste Guérin, Self-Portrait - £134,500 (est. £100,000-150,000)