The Old Master sales are coming in July and these will be the first round since the auction houses have combined a wide range of art into a single department spanning 600 years. Christie’s heads, Nicholas Hall and Richard Knight make a case that the move is suited to the market’s needs:
Elsewhere in the market, you only have to go to the Maastricht Fair to see how objects of quality from different periods, and in different media, are presented together. An artist like Turner, for example, was as brilliant in watercolour as he is in oil paint, and there are countless artists in the 19th century who enjoyed a reputation as major salon painters but who are at the same time beautiful, exquisite draughtsmen. You have cases, too, artists such as Ingres or Parmigianino, where one can find drawings appearing on the market, but very seldom paintings. In other instances, artists such as Guercino, for example, we are now able to present drawings and paintings by the same artist in the same sale. In this context bringing drawings into these sales is a natural and important evolution.
Our research shows changing patterns of behaviour in collecting and combined with trends in taste that are common to a majority of our clients. We have looked for areas of what we call ‘cross-over buying’. Analysis shows that many of our Old Master buyers are busy in other related fields and that there is much less separation between areas of collecting than one might think.