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Constable's celebrated composition The Lock sells for $13.7 million at Sotheby's London
Painted circa 1824-5 when Constable was at the height of his powers, The Lock is one of only three major works by Constable left in private hands. This iconic image is the fifth in the series of six monumental landscapes popularly known as the artist’s ‘Six-Footers’, which for many define the pinnacle of Constable’s career. Photo: Sotheby's.


LONDON.- Tonight, The Lock, one of John Constable’s most famous compositions sold for £9,109,000 / €12,562,266 / $13,699,025 at Sotheby’s London, 160 years after its last appearance on the market. The monumental landscape depicting the countryside of the painter’s “careless boyhood” was the highlight of the Old Master & British Paintings Evening sale which featured a significant number of museum-quality works and totalled £22.6 million / €31.2 million / $34 Million (est. £21.8-32.6 million).

Alex Bell, Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department said: “The Lock belongs to a small group of pictures that define Constable’s oeuvre and genius. The artist’s absolute mastery as a landscape painter is everywhere in the picture and this was reflected in the result achieved tonight. The painting was one of many museum-quality works presented in the sale, an unprecedented proportion of which were from private collections and came to the market for the first time in several generations. The combination of quality and freshness to the market are key in this field and certainly account for this evening’s strong results.”

John Constable’s The Lock
Painted circa 1824-5 when Constable was at the height of his powers, The Lock is one of only three major works by Constable left in private hands. This iconic image is the fifth in the series of six monumental landscapes popularly known as the artist’s ‘Six-Footers’, which for many define the pinnacle of Constable’s career. Depicting a bucolic scene on the River Stour in the artist’s native Suffolk, and painted in response to the huge critical acclaim that greeted Constable's first treatment of the composition (exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1824), the picture was treasured by the artist. Retained by him in his studio until the end of his life, singled out by him for prestigious exhibitions, it was chosen as the basis for the engraving that was to make it among the most familiar and celebrated images in the canon of British art.

MARKET LEADER
Tonight’s sale establishes Sotheby’s as 2015 market leaders in the Old Masters & British Paintings Category and confirmed the company’s long-held Leadership in the field

• Worldwide 2015 total (as of tonight): $237,619,514
• Sotheby’s has now led the market for 8 of the last 10 years.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
• Leading this group was the most significant early Netherlandish painting to come to the auction market in the 21st century: a magnificent depiction of the Madonna and Child painted by Jan Gossaert which sold for £4,629,000, an auction record for the artist and for any early Netherlandish painting (est. £4-6 million)

• The left wing of a small triptych commissioned in Paris at the end of the 1440s or around 1450 by Dreux Budé sold to the Musée du Louvre, Paris for £965,000, a benchmark price for The Master of the Dreux Budé Triptych who was probably also responsible for the design and part of the execution of the Crucifixion of the Parlement of Paris in the Louvre, Paris - perhaps the most celebrated of all Parisian 15th-century panel paintings (est. £400,000-600,000). This Betrayal of Christ may well be the earliest night scene in Northern European panel painting.

• A depiction of a cavern in the Gulf of Salerno, near Naples by Joseph Wright of Derby surpassed expectations and achieved £665,000 (est. £100,000-150,000). The work had been donated to The United Society (Us) in order to raise funds for the relief of the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.

• An outstanding example of Govert Flinck’s tronie paintings (fancy-dress studies, based on a real likeness) of the first half of the 1640s soared above estimate and realised £485,000 (est. £200,000-300,000).

• Strong results for gold ground paintings: Tonight’s sale featured a group of four gold grounds each of which found buyers and brought a combined total of £703,500, well above estimate (combined estimate: £350,000-510,000), echoing the strong results achieved by such works at auction over the past years. (cf. a wing of a diptych depicting episodes from the lives of the Virgin Mary and other saints by Giovanni da Rimini sold for £5,682,500 at Sotheby’s London in July 2014).

Fresh-to-the-market Museum-quality Works high in Demand
An exceptionally large number of the works offered tonight were from private collections and came to the market for the first time in several generations.

• 98% of the lots came from private collections

• Almost half of the works offered had never appeared at auction

• A quarter of the lots in the sale had been in private collections for over 100 years

The Pulling Power of Old Masters
• Over the course of five days (5-9 December), 6,000 people visited our London exhibition

• This year, 46% bidders in our sales were new to the field, and 21% our buyers were completely new to Sotheby's

• Tonight we saw a typically broad spread of bidding, with registrants from 25 countries, just as in our last sale

• While we had participation from the new markets (Asia and Russia in particular), European buyers were out in force tonight.

• Online participation: Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s Peasants' Brawl sold for 869,000 (est. £600,000- 800,000)

4 Records set tonight
• Jan Gossaert called Mabuse Lot 6 - THE VIRGIN AND CHILD Sold for £4,629,000 (est. £4,000,000-£6,000,000) Previous record £1,421,260 at Koller Auktionen AG 28 March 2014

• Cola di Petruccioli da Orvieto Lot 11 – THE MADONNA AND CHILD ENTHRONED, FLANKED BY SAINT CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRA, SAINT VERONICA, SAINT MUSTIOLA AND SAINT LUCY Sold for £257,000 (est. £60,000-£80,000) Artist previously not offered at auction

• Alesso di Benozzo ('Maestro Esiguo') Lot 13 - MADONNA AND CHILD BEFORE A CLOTH-OF-HONOUR HELD ALOFT BY TWO ANGELS Sold for £118,750 (est. £60,000 —£80,000) Previous record: £80,293 - Christie’s Paris 2011

• Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt and studio Lot 27 - PORTRAIT OF FREDERICK I, KING OF BOHEMIA (1596–1632); PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH STUART, DAUGHTER OF JAMES I AND QUEEN OF BOHEMIA (1596–1662) Sold for £221,000 Previous record by follower of Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt - £154,242





Today's News

December 10, 2015

Constable's celebrated composition The Lock sells for $13.7 million at Sotheby's London

Major exhibition of painter and illustrator Gerda Wegener's work on view at ARKEN

Maisons Fragiles: Exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London draws together the work of nine artists

BBC Two documentary unveils new research which rewrites the story of the Mona Lisa

Six major works created between 2012 and 2014 by Bill Viola on view at James Cohan

Fundació Joan Miró hosts the presentation of the book "The Miró Eye"

Suleiman the Magnificent's tomb 'almost certainly' found by researchers in Hungary

National Gallery Singapore's opening celebrations visitorship exceeds expectations

Transformers: MAXXI hosts an exhibition where visitors can observe and participate

Beatles' spiritual retreat in northern India opened to public with plans to turn it into a touristy yoga centre

Antiques editor Judy Penz Sheluk garners rave reviews for debut mystery novel

North Carolina Museum of Art Hanukkah lamp selected for White House Hanukkah ceremony

rosenfeld porcini opens exhibition of Italian sculptor Roberto Almagno's work

Artcurial to offer the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti from the Pierre Bardinon Collection

Exhibition of new large-scale acid-bright canvases by William Alsop on view in Munich

"Adam Basanta: The sound of empty space" on view at Carroll/Fletcher

Solo exhibition of Rodrigo Valenzuela's new series of photographs opens at envoy enterprises

Sotheby's Institute of Art appoints Artsy's Christine Kuan as Director of New York Campus

Parrish Art Museum features recent acquisitions and works by artists new to the collection

Cartier and Rolex December success for Roseberys

The West Broadway Gallery launches with exhibition of work by Robert Lobe and Neil Jenney

Art Fund announces launch of 2016 Museum of the Year Prize

TEFAF Showcase exhibitors 2016 revealed

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