The wealth of works offered across Christies
two Classic Week Evening sales The Exceptional Sale and the Old Masters Evening Sale - have realised a combined total of £64,620,750 / $88,982,773 / 75,347,795. Welcoming registered bidders from 102 countries across 4 continents, the top lot of the evening was Bernardo Bellottos View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi which achieved £10,575,000 / $14,561,775 / 12,330,450 (estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000). Bringing the running total for Classic Week sales to date to £70,214,250 / $96,723,68 / 81,867,274, the auctions continue until 15 July, and with estimates starting from £500 to £18 million this marquee week presents rare opportunities for new and established collectors across price levels.
The Exceptional Sale 2021
Christies Exceptional Sale realised £19,537,500 / $26,903,138 / 22,780,725, selling 77% by lot and 85% by value. The top lot of the sale was Head of a bear by Leonardo da Vinci, which set a new world auction record for a drawing by the artist, achieving £8,857,500 / $12,196,778/ 10,327,845.
Stijn Alsteens, International Head of Department, Old Master Drawings, Christies comments: Christies is greatly honoured to have brought this small but magnificent Old Master Drawing to the market in the Exceptional Sale this evening in London. The drawing attracted attention from all around the world, and I was confident that the great quality and rarity of the work would lead to an exceptional result the fifth highest price ever achieved for an Old Master Drawing at auction.
Giles Forster, Head of The Exceptional Sale, noted: The breadth and depth of bidding across periods and categories in this sale is notable, highlighted by the top lots which span Old Master Drawings, Decorative Arts and Manuscripts. In addition to the stellar result for the record breaking top lot by Leonardo da Vinci, the price realised for the remarkable Charles I inkstand attributed to silversmith Christiaen van Vianen £1,942,500/ $2,674,823/ 2,264,955 (estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) reflects the museum quality nature of this work which was previously on long term loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The new auction record established for an Isaac Newton manuscript £1,702,500/ $2,344,343/ 1,985,115 (estimate: £600,000-900,000) highlights that autograph scientific manuscripts by Newton are of the greatest rarity on the market. A dynamic sale, we are also pleased to have established new auction records for a meteorite and for furniture by the bronzier Ferdinand Barbedienne with the remarkable Japonisme aquarium, which show the unique ability of the Exceptional Sale to bring record prices for wow factor works of art.
Old Masters Evening Sale
The Old Masters Evening Sale realised £45,083,250 / $62,079,635/ 52,567,070, selling 94% by value and 78% by lot. The top lot of the sale was Bernardo Bellottos View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi, which achieved £10,575,000/ $14,561,775 / 12,330,450 (estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000). For the full results please click here and the top ten at the end of the document.
Clementine Sinclair, Head of Old Masters Evening Sale: We are thrilled with the results of this Old Masters sale, which at £45 million was the strongest Evening sale since July 2016. Only two Evening sales have exceeded this total over the past 10 years. The prices realised for Bellottos majestic view of Verona and George de La Tours arresting image of Saint Andrew set new record prices for the artists at auction. The wealth of fresh material prompted competitive bidding with the exquisite cabinet picture by Frans van Mieris making more than four times the low estimate. All three works by female artists in the sale sold successfully, with two more than tripling their original low estimates. This evening was a real boost for the Old Masters market and underlines the continued demand for great works that are fresh to the market with exceptional provenance.