Old Masters have set new record prices in an unprecedented bidding war at Sotheby’s yesterday. Two El Grecos offered in the sale marked the first time two masterpieces, by the artist were offered in the same auction. Saint Dominic in Prayer, £9,154,500 (est: £3.5-5m) set a record for a painting by a Spanish artist and Christ on the Cross sold for £3,442,500 (est: £3-5m).
“The greatest Old Master paintings have a timeless quality that transcends their era and gives them a relevance to audiences today, as tonight’s global bidding and record result for El Greco’s “St Dominic in Prayer” attest. The dialogue between Old and New is injecting fresh energy into our field. We’re now firmly in a new era, where clients from new markets are collecting Old Masters in new ways. Our response has been to offer the most exciting and diverse works we can find – and to present them in a more contemporary way;” Stated Alex Bell, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings
An unprecedented level of participation from new markets propelled Sotheby’s London Evening Sale of Old Master & British Paintings to £35,048,000. Collectors from 33 countries took part in the sale with record numbers from Asia and the Middle East.
In total, 8 auction records were created including that for Claude-Joseph Vernet, whose outstanding View of Avignon from the right bank of the Rhône outstripped pre-sale expectations to realise £5,346,500 (est. £3-5million). A new auction record for a female Old Master artist was also established when Rachel Ruysch’s Still Life of roses from 1710 achieved £1,650,000 (est. £1-1.5million). The final total saw over 40% of lots sold achieved prices above presale estimates 8 new artist records established 7 lots over £1 million
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s