Published: July 11, 2016
LONDON — Christie’s Old Master and British Evening Sale July 7 totaled $84,745,570, achieving sell through rates of 93 percent by value and 77 percent by lot. Total sales for that week of auctions known as Classic Week totaled $112 million.
Now the most expensive Old Master painting ever sold at Christie’s, Peter Paul Rubens’s “Lot and his Daughters” attained $58,167,720 in this evening sale after a spirited 14-minute bidding war.
Henry Pettifer, International Director, Head of Old Master & British Paintings Christie’s London, said, “Following the curated 250th anniversary Defining British Art sale we are delighted with the results of this Old Masters evening’s auction… the result of strong bidding from not only our traditional collectors for the category but also new clients from Asia and collectors of Twentieth Century art. “The atmosphere in the saleroom was energetic as one of the most important paintings by Rubens to have remained in private hands sold after 14 minutes of bidding.”
Top prices were seen at all price levels, with highlights including ‘The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter’ by Pieter Brueghel II going over estimate to bring $8.3 million, Bernardo Bellotto’s pair of panoramas of the Grand Canal Venice at $46 million and Jacob van Ruisdael’s ‘View of Harlem’ that took just under $2 million.
Another standout auction this week was “The Exceptional Sale,” which took place earlier in the day July 7, and totaled $7.3 million with a sell through rate of 89 percent by value and 80 percent by lot.
A world auction record was set for English pottery with the sale of a Wedgwood black basalt “First Day’s Vase” at $625,320, more than double its high estimate. Robert Copley, Deputy Chairman of Group, International Head of Furniture, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s UK, said, “The Exceptional Sale saw international participation from registered bidders in 15 countries across three continents. The highlight of the sale was a Wedgwood black ‘First Day’s Vase’, one of only four First Day vases to have been thrown by Wedgwood himself, and one which has passed through generations of the Wedgwood family before being auctioned at Christie’s…” Wedgwood potted the vase on the opening day of the Etruria Factory in Staffordshire in June 1769.
A world auction record was also set for a work by the Komai studio, a pair of Japanese inlaid iron vases and covers, which sold over estimate at $392,040. Top lots included a Meissen white model of a great bustard, which originated from Augustus the Strong’s porcelain menagerie and a pair of ice pails, ordered by Catherine the Great of Russia, the most elaborate and expensive set ever produced by Sèvres, both of which each fetched $1,087,668.
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