NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
announced that the magnificent Bacchic Figure Supporting the Globe by Adrien de Vries was bought by the Rijksmuseum with the support of the Rembrandt Society, the BankGiro Loterij, VSB fund, Mondriaan fund and private donors. The Mannerist sculpture, which is widely recognized as a masterpiece by the 17th century artist known as the Dutch Michaelangelo, was won by the museum after a tense three-way phone bidding battle that lasted four minutes and captivated the audience at Christies Rockefeller Center saleroom in New York. The final price with premium of $27,885,000 (£17,743,735/ 22,503,724) marks a new world auction record for any work by de Vries.
Following the sale, Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections for the Rijksmuseum remarked: We are thrilled to have acquired this exceptional work of art by the Dutch Michelangelo, Adriaen de Vries. Until today there was no sculpture by him in the Netherlands.
Christies Jussi Pylkkanen, Global President of Christies and the auctioneer for the sale, commented: The de Vries is a truly magnificent and rare bronze and it deserved to make an exceptional price. It follows the trend of masterpieces achieving outstanding prices at Christies throughout 2014.
This masterpiece by Adriaen de Vries is one of the most important sculptures of the Mannerist period and its reappearance on the marketplace made for a hugely significant event. We could not be more proud to have had the opportunity to shepherd this work into a collection as important and remarkable as that of the Rijksmuseum.
· The sale of de Vries' Bacchic Figure Supporting the Globe marks the second time this fall auction season that Christies has sold a major masterpiece to a public institution. In November, Christies sold Edouard Manet's Le Printemps to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where the Impressionist masterpiece was unveiled to the public just before the holiday season (see November release here).
· The excellent results of the Bacchic Figure Supporting the Globe reassert the continuing momentum of the masterpiece market, which has gone from strength to strength throughout the course of 2014 at Christies.
· The last time that a major work by de Vries appeared on the auction market was on December 7, 1989, when The Dancing Fawn, was sold for £6.8 million, the previous auction record for the artist.