Published: February 14, 2006
Sotheby’s Old Master paintings, drawings and sculpture auctions totaled $79,669,380, a record for a series of Old Masters sales in New York. The total for paintings alone (not including the Dealer’s Eye sale or any sculpture) was $62.8 million, also topping the previous record for a single sale of Old Master paintings in New York. Among the highlights of the sales were strong prices for works by Rembrandt, Jan van Huysum, Donatello, Willem van de Velde, Francisco Goya, William Blake, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Bernardo Bellotto, among others.
George Wachter, vice chairman of Sotheby’s, said, “The results we achieved over the last three days are the strongest totals ever realized in this category at auction in New York, no matter how they are analyzed – either as a series of sales or individually. I am thrilled with these results, which confirm the desirable timing of Old Master sales in January.”
The two-day sale of Old Master paintings totaled $62,758,960 and was highlighted by a Dutch still life by van Huysum, “Flowers in a Terra Cotta Pot,” which sold for $7,296,000. Wachter continued, “In our sale of Old Master paintings, we saw buoyant competition yield good prices for great works of art. Works such as Meindert Hobbema’s ‘Wooded Landscape’ and Paulus Potter’s ‘Cattle in a Field’ brought prices that were four and five times the prices that those same works brought ten and 15 years ago, respectively, at auction.”
Among the other highlights of the sale were “Portrait of anElderly Woman in a White Bonnet” by Rembrandt, which sold to aprivate collector in New York for $4,272,000, and Donatello’s”Madonna and Child,” which sold for $4,440,000 to the Kimbell ArtMuseum in Fort Worth, Texas.
Also purchased by a museum was Corrado Giaquinto’s “The Penitent Magdalene,” which was bought by The Metropolitan Museum of Art for $1,360,000.
The Dealer’s Eye sale totaled $5,012,600. Wachter noted, “This was an innovative experiment with some of our most important clients and a very valuable learning experience. We received positive feedback from many of our consignors and plan on applying what we have learned, particularly the importance of pricing, to another sale of this kind next January. Indeed, dealers who paid attention to the pricing issue sold everything they offered, and many were extremely pleased.
As we had hoped, a range of private clients, both from America and Europe, competed for pictures in the sale, among them some completely new to the field of Old Masters.” Among the highlights of the sale were Philips Wouwerman’s “Hawking Party,” which brought $553,600, and a pair of paintings by Marcantonio Franceschini, which sold for $486,400.
Leading off the week was the sale of Old Master drawings, which totaled $4,835,340, above the high estimate of $4.4 million. Greg Rubinstein, director of Sotheby’s Old Master drawings department, said, “We are thrilled with the results, which are the best we’ve had for several years. They demonstrate that even in a selective market there is still great competition for drawings of exceptional quality and interesting provenance.”
A perfect example of that irresistible combination was thegroup of drawings by Willem Van de Velde the Elder from the estateof John Pierpont Morgan II, which exceeded expectations to bring$1.5 million ($585/845,000). Their appearance on the marketreaffirms the fact that there are still many important works yet tobe discovered.” In addition to the van de Velde drawings, otherhighlights included William Blake’s watercolor, “Oberon and Titaniaon a Lily,” which sold for $520,000 and Francisco Goya’s “Portraitof Miguel de Muzquiz,” which surpassed a high estimate of $160,000to sell for $352,000.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium. For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
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