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Global collectors vie for big names in Sotheby's £33.5 million sale of Old Master & British Paintings
Two Venetian masterpieces by Canaletto sell for £9.6 million ($15.7 million); Russian underbidding drives Rubens’ intriguing portrait to £3.2 million ($5.3 million). Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- “Three hundred years ago, European Noblemen would travel across Europe on the Grand Tour looking to expand their horizons, acquiring along the way masterworks like Canaletto’s spectacular views of Venice. Today’s similarly enlightened collectors – be they Asian, Russian, European or American - are the new Grand Tourists, and Old Masters are becoming an ever-more important part of their journey. Sophisticated and confident enough in their own tastes to compete to any level for the very greatest examples, both of by established names and unknown artists.” Alex Bell, Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department.

Pre-Sale Estimate: £22.2- 33.3 million
With an additional £4,562,500 for Rossetti’s Christmas Carol from the Leverhulme Collection

• Global participation from 22 countries

• The sale got off to a flying start when a Pietà by an unknown artist (a follower of Rogier van der Weyden) sold for £962,500 – nearly five times the low estimate (est. £200,000-300,000).

• The top lot of the evening was a pair of supreme view paintings by Canaletto which sold for £9,602,500 ($15,732,736)

• Russian underbidding helped drive Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ intriguing Portrait of a Gentleman, half-length, wearing black to £3,218,500 ($5,273,190) (est. £400,000-600,000).

• A new auction record was established for Dante Gabriel Rossetti when his A Christmas Carol from the famous Leverhulme Collection sold for £4,562,500 (£4-6 million)

• A good night for portrait paintings:

• In addition to the Rubens mentioned above, Frans Hals’s ebullient Portrait of a gentleman, half-length in black with lace collar and cuffs, and wearing a broad-brimmed black hat sold for £2,994,500 (est. £2-3 million)

• Sir Thomas Lawrence’s psychologically penetrating Portrait of the 1st Duke of Wellington made £962,500, (est. £800,000-1,200,000)

• Strong prices for Spanish works

• A group of 14 works from a Private Spanish collection together realised £5,499,500 (est. £2,430,000- 3,390,000), setting records for two artists, Pedro Núñez de Villavicencio and Bernardo Polo

• Bidding on the group came from Russia, Latin America, Europe and America

• Tonight’s total established Sotheby’s as 2013 market leaders in Old Master & British Paintings:

• Year-to-date worldwide total: $209.7 million

• Five artist records were set this evening for Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pedro Núñez de Villavicencio, Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot Bernardo Polo and Simone del Tintore

Six sales across Sotheby’s global auction rooms today totalled $200 million

• Sotheby’s New York held a $60 million sale of ‘Norman Rockwell Masterworks from the Stuart Family Collection’. The group was led by Rockwell’s singular masterpiece Saying Grace, which set a new auction record for an American Painting and nearly tripled the previous auction record for the artist when it achieved $46,085,000 – soaring past its $20 million high estimate.

• In Paris, Modigliani’s Portrait de Roger Dutilleul sold for €6.5 million ($8.8 million) (est. €7-9 million/$9.5-12 million)

• A 13th-century ivory statuette of the Virgin & Child hidden in a private collection since the middle of the 20th century sold for £2,546,500 at Sotheby's London European Sculpture & Works of Art auction (pre-sale estimate £800,000-1,200,000)

• A new record for a drawing by Thomas Gainsborough was set when an extremely rare late work by the artist, dating from circa 1785, Study of a Lady sold for £1,650,500 at Sotheby’s London sale of a Connoisseur’s Collection (pre-sale estimate £400,000-600,000).

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