LONDON.- This week’s sales concluded today with a combined total of £77.7 million / $102.6 million, with strong results across Old Master and British paintings and drawings, decorative arts, sculptures and antiquities spanning over two millennia.
OLD MASTERS EVENING, 4 July
• Total up 70% on last December.
• Participants spanning four continents, with buying from Asia, Russia and Latin America.
• 77.3% of lots sold.
• More than half of the lots achieved prices above top estimates.
• 10 auction records for Paolo Veneziano, Gillis Claeissens, Hans Baldung (called Grien), a work attributed to Albrecht Dürer, a single portrait by Rubens (in GBP), oil on copper by Clara Peeters (in GBP), Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder, Lorenzo di Bicci, Liberale da Verona, Vicente Carducho.
• Fresh-to-the-market works: almost half of the lots offered in the Evening sale had not appeared on the market for over 40 years.
• Over 7,100 people visited our galleries over the five-day exhibition. A further 1,250 saw our collaborative show at Victoria Beckham’s cutting-edge store on Dover Street.
Highlights of the Evening Sale
A Great Night for Dutch and Flemish Painting:
The category totalled £21.6 million, above estimate (est. £12,755,000-19,750,000).
• A rare portrait by Sir Peter Paul Rubens made £5,416,400, a landmark price for a single portrait by the artist in GPB (est. £3-4 million). Unseen on the market for 60 years, since it was acquired by the great Dutch collector Hans Wetzlar, this remarkable depiction of a Venetian Nobleman was cherished by the artist who kept it until his death in 1640.
• A newly-restituted work by Dutch Golden Age master, Jacob Ochtervelt, fetched £1,930,000 (est. £1.5-2.5 million). Looted from a bank vault during World War II, The Oyster Meal was recently returned to the heirs of its rightful wartime owner.
Lot 48. Jacob Ochtervelt (Rotterdam 1634 - 1682 Amsterdam), The Oyster Meal, oil on canvas, 53.5 x 44.5 cm.; 21 x 17 1/2 in. Estimate 3,000,000 — 4,000,000 GBP. Lot sold 5,416,400 GBP. Formely in the Collection of Le Comte de Morny, Paris; recently restituted to the heirs of Dr J.H. Smidt van Gelder on 6 November 2017. Photo: Sotheby's.
• Works from the Van Dedem Collection, one of Europe’s finest private collections of Dutch and Flemish masterpieces, put together by the great Dutch connoisseur, Baron Willem van Dedem totalled £7,401,750 (est. £3.8-5.2 million), with more lots offered in the Old Masters Day sale.
• A still life by Clara Peeters was bought for £634,000 by agent and dealer David Koetser for the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The price achieved was an auction record for an oil on copper by the artist in GBP (est. £250,000-350,000).
Lot 25. Clara Peeters (Active in Antwerp circa 1607-1621), Still life with flowers in a glass vase surrounded by insects and a snail, signed, lower centre: .CLARA P, oil on copper, 16.6 x 13.5 cm.; 6 1/2 x 5 1/4 in. Estimate 250,000 — 350,000 GBP. Lot sold 634,000 GBP. From the Van Dedem Collection, bought by agent and dealer David Koetser for the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Photo: Sotheby's.
Portraits high in demand, especially Northern Renaissance works
• A rare early portrait of a man with a spotted fur collar by Lucas Cranach the Elder, probably painted in 1508, sold for £2,410,000 (est. £1.5-2 million).
Lot 7. Lucas Cranach the Elder (Kronach 1472 - 1553 Weimar), Portrait of a man with a spotted fur collar, inscribed upper right: BETALET ALL; charged upper left with the coat of arms of the Agicourt[?] family, oil on oak panel,48.3 x 36.5 cm.; 19 x 14⅜ in. Estimate 1,500,000 — 2,000,000 GBP. Lot sold 2,410,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.
• A late 15th-century portrait of Mary of Burgundy, Netherlandish or South German School, achieved £2,050,000 (est. £1-1.5 million).
Lot 4. Netherlandish or South German School, late 15th Century, Portrait of Mary of Burgundy (1458–1482), in profile, oil on oak panel, 47.5 x 35 cm.; 18 ¾ x 13 ¾ in. Estimate 1,000,000 — 1,500,000 GBP. Lot sold 2,050,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.
• A striking portrait of a man against a green background attributed to Albrecht Dürer, probably from the second part of the 1490s, soared to £1,150,000, the highest price ever paid at auction for a work attributed to Dürer (est. £300,000-400,000).
Lot 11. Attributed to Albrecht Dürer (Nuremberg 1471 - 1528), Portrait of a man against a green background, oil on parchment laid down on panel, 25.7 x 20.5 cm.; 10 1/8 x 8 1/8 in. Estimate 300,000 — 400,000 GBP. Lot sold 1,150,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.
• A group of four exceptionally rare panels painted in Northern Europe circa 1418-25 doubled the low estimate and sold for £2,650,000 (est. £1-1.5 million).
Lot 41. South Netherlandish School, possibly Tournai, circa 1418-25, Four panels depicting episodes from The Life of The Virgin The Miracle of The Blossoming Rod St Jerome (verso); The Marriage Of The Virgin St Ambrose (verso); The Death of The Virgin St Gregory (verso); The Assumption of The Virgin. A set of four, all oil and gold on oak panels measuring respectively: 79 x 51.5 cm.; 31 1/8 x 20 1/4 in.; 79.5 x 49.4 cm.; 31 1/4 x 19 1/2 in.; 78.7 x 52.2 cm.; 31 x 20 1/2 in.; 78.5 x 50 cm.; 30 7/8 x 19 5/8 in. Estimate 1,000,000 — 1,500,000 GBP. Lot sold 2,650,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.
British Paintings 100% Sold
• One of only two oil views of ‘London’ by Turner left in private hands, Walton Bridges sold for £3,370,000 (est. £3-5 million).
Lot 21. Joseph Mallord William Turner, RA, Walton Bridges, signed lower right: J M W Turner R A, oil on canvas, 92.7 x 123.8 cm.; 36 1/2 x 48 3/4 in.. Estimate £3,000,000 — 5,000,000. Lot sold £3,370,000 . Courtesy Sotheby's.
• All 5 lots offered in this category found buyers with a combined total of £7,154,000 (est.£6 – 9.4 million).
OLD MASTERS DAY, 5 July
The Old Masters Day Sale realised a total of £4,604,625 with a number of highlight works selling well above their pre-sale estimates. The top lot of the sale was a work by Dutch portrait and genre painter, Caspar Netscher whose oil on canvas, The Fortune Teller, more than tripled its high estimate to fetch £274,000 (est. £60,000-80,000).
Lot 164. Formely in the Collection of Philippe, Duc d'Orleans (d. 1723), Palais-Royal, Paris, until 1791/2. Caspar Netscher (Heidelberg(?) 1639 - 1684 The Hague), The Fortune Teller, oil on canvas, 59.5 x 51 cm.; 23 1/2 x 20 1/8 in. Estimate 60,000 — 80,000 GBP. Lot sold 274,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.
TREASURES, 4 July
A new auction record was established for Antonio Canova, the greatest Neoclassical sculptor, when his long-lost Bust of Peace sold for £5,303,500 – surpassing the artist’s previous auction record of £3.9 million set by ‘Bust of Murat’, in November 2017. Autograph Canova marbles are exceptionally rare on the art market and the appearance of this exceptional work with matchless provenance dating back all the way to its conception in 1814 caused a great deal of excitement. A telephone battle broke out as the successful buyer was determined to win out, driving the final sale price to a figure far beyond pre-sale expectations.
Former Collection of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor, and Lady Isabella Caroline Campbell, née Howard (1771-1848). Lot 25. Antonio Canova (1757-1822) Italian, Rome, Bust of Peace, 1814, white marble, on a white marble socle, 53cm., 20 7/8 in. including the socle. Estimate Upon Request. Lot sold 5,303,500 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.
A watch used by the great British hero, Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson to orchestrate the Royal Navy’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar sold for £322,000 (est. £250,000-450,000). Now mounted in a gilt-brass carriage clock case, this pocket watch was carried by Nelson during his final battle and retrieved from his wounded body before he died.
OLD MASTER & BRITISH WORKS ON PAPER, 4 July
A stunning Swiss landscape by Britain’s favourite artist, J.M.W. Turner sold for £2,050,000 (est. £1.2-1.8 million), among the top prices ever achieved for a watercolour by the artist. Created in the final years of the artist’s life and widely considered to be the pinnacle of his achievements in the medium, The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen depicts one of the most dramatic landscapes in the Swiss Alps, capturing the view over the picturesque village of Brunnen on the eastern shores of Lake Lucerne.
Lot 209. Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A., The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, Watercolour over traces of pencil, heightened with bodycolour, scratching out and stopping out, 308 by 469mm. Estimate £1,200,000-1,800,000. Lot sold £2,050,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.
A further highlight was the preparatory study by Pierre Prévost for an extraordinary lost panorama of London which sold for £250,000 (est. £200,000-300,000). Measuring over 6-metres in length, this extraordinary vista of London which offers a unique view of the city in the early 19th century was unknown until very recently.
Lot 79. Pierre Prévost (Montigny-Le Ganelon 1764 - 1823 Paris), A Panoramic View Of London, From The Tower Of St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil, squared for transfer in pencil, the squares numbered, on multiple sheets of paper laid onto canvas, 850 by 6050 mm. Estimate £200,000–300,000. Lot sold £250,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.
OLD MASTER SCULPTURE & WORKS OF ART, 3 July
The Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art sale brought a total of £3,551,813 against a pre-sale estimate of £2,021,200-2,977,900. The top lot was a superbly carved boxwood Christ which sold for £1,138,000, soaring over its pre-sale estimate of £200,000-300,000. This exciting recent addition to the oeuvre of Veit Stoss, the leading Late Gothic sculptor celebrated as 'the Master of Crucifixes', is the only known surviving small-scale version of this subject that can be attributed to the master’s hand.
Lot 40. Attributed to Veit Stoss (1447-1533), German, Nuremberg, or Polish, Cracow, circa 1490-1500, Corpus Christi, boxwood, 34.5 by 33cm., 13 5/8 by 13in. Estimate £200,000–300,000. Lot sold £1,138,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.
An exceptional mid-17th century bronze group of Apollo slaying a Python, a newly discovered cast of a model that has traditionally been attributed to Ferdinando Tacca (1619-1686), sculptor to the Medici in Florence, flew above estimate to £466,000 (est. £120,000-180,000).
Lot 70. Italian or French, second half 17th century, Apollo slaying the Python; the base inscribed in Greek letters: ΙΗΙΕ, ΔΑΛΙΕ, ΠΑΙΑΝ., bronze, on an ebonised wood base; Apollo: 34cm., 13 3/8 in.; Python: 15 by 24cm., 5 7/8 by 9½in.; base: 6 by 23cm., 2 3/8 by 9in. Estimate £120,000 — 180,000. Lot sold £466,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.
The sale saw strong results for marbles: two rare additions to the oeuvre of Giacomo Serpotta, representing Europe and America and powerfully symbolising the interaction between the burgeoning New World and the Old (circa 1720-1730), achieved £225,000 (est. £200,000-300,000), while an exquisite pair of sculptures attributed to Giovanni Battista Foggini, of Lucretia and Pompeia Paulina representing a noble pairing of moral tragic heroines (circa 1700), sold for £200,000 (est. £180,000-250,000).
ANCIENT SCULPTURE & WORKS OF ART, 3 July
The sale of Ancient Sculpture and Works of Art sale soared above the pre-sale estimate of £3.2-4.7 million to bring £5,445,000 – the highest result for the series since it began in London in May 2016. 70% of sold lots went above the high estimate.
The sale was led by an Egyptian indurated limestone figure of the Scribe Nekht-Ankh dating to circa 1800-1700 B.C. The cloaked figure had been on display in the Main Hall at Palais Stoclet since 1905, amidst the frescoes and mosaics of Gustav Klimt, and sold for £1.5 million (est. £1-1.5 million).
Remarkable Egyptian scribe not seen in public since 1905. Lot 64. An Egyptian Indurated Limestone Figure of the Scribe Nekht-Ankh, late 12th-13th Dynasty, circa 1800-1700 B.C. Height 27 cm. Estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000. Lot sold £1,510,000. Courtesy Sotheby's
A Roman marble funerary altar from the 1st century A.D., first recorded in the garden of Agostino Andrea Chigi’s villa, at the same time that Raphael was painting the interior, sold for £187,500, over three times the high estimate (£45,000-60,000). A Roman marble torso of Hermes from the 2nd century A.D. provoked a lengthy bidding battle which saw the messenger god fly three times over the high estimate to bring £218,750 (est. £45,000-65,000). A rediscovered Roman wall-painting fragment which once hung in Horace Walpole’s gothic castle, Strawberry Hill House, sold for £16,250 (est. £15,000-25,000). Two ancient Egyptian mummy masks mesmerised buyers, selling for £162,500 (est. £60,000-90,000) and £200,000 (est. £100,000-150,000) respectively.
Roman altar witness to Raphael's passionate life and works. Lot 36. A Roman Marble Funerary Altar Inscribed for Julia Lyris, 1st century A.D.; 73.3 by 54.3 by 54.3 cm. Estimate £45,000-60,000. Lot sold £187,500. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Lot 22. A Roman Marble Torso of Hermes, circa 2nd Century A.D. Height 83 cm. Estimate £45,000-65,000. Lot sold £218,750. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Horace Walpole's lost Roman fresco rediscovered. Lot 45. A Roman Wall-painting Fragment on Stucco, circa 2nd Century A.D., with early 18th Century Italian Restorations; 56 by 67 cm. Estimate £15,000-25,000. Lot sold £16,250. Courtesy Sotheby's
Lot 70. An Egyptian Polychrome Wood Mummy Mask, 21st/22nd Dynasty, 1075-716 B.C. Height 24.2 cm. Estimate £100,000 — 150,000. Lot sold £200,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Lot 46. An Egyptian Encaustic on Wood Mummy Portrait of a Girl, Roman Period, Trajanic, circa late 1st/early 2nd Century A.D.; 30.5 by 16 cm. Estimate £60,000 — 90,000. Lot sold £162,500. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Ancient jewellery saw strong results, with all four lots selling far above estimate: a pair of Greek gold earrings sold for £40,000 (est. £15,000-25,000); an Egyptian glass and carnelian bead necklace sold for £16,250 (est. £7,000-10,000); a gold torque, probably Sarmatian, sold for £68,750 (est. £10,000-15,000), and a Sarmatian gold lion griffin head appliqué sold for £112,500 (est. £3,500-4,500).
Lot 15. A Pair of Greek Gold Earrings, Magna Graecia, circa late 4th-early 3rd Century B.C. Heights 5.7 cm. Estimate 15,000 — 25,000 GBP. Lot sold £40,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Lot 76. An Egyptian Glass and Carnelian Bead and Pendant Necklace, New Kingdom, 1540-1075 B.C. Largest pendants 1.1 cm. length as strung together 42.9 cm. Estimate 7,000 — 10,000 GBP. Lot sold £16,250. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Lot 78. A Sarmatian gold lion griffin head appliqué, Northern Black Sea or Central Asian Steppes, circa 2nd century B.C.-1st century A.D. Lenght 4.5 cm., depth 1.5 cm. Estimate 3,500 — 4,500 GBP. Lot sold £112,500. Courtesy Sotheby's.