Colin Gleadell has a pair of items today that show the Old Master market may not have prices as high as Modern and Contemporary but it continues to have determined buyers, private and institutional, when there’s a new discovery or a long-held work comes to market:
A landscape by John Constable that turned up in an auction in Devon with a £40,000 to £60,000 estimate sold for £313,000 last week. There was no doubting the authenticity of this work which had come from a local private collection. Several hopeful bidders were involved as bidding reached £80,000, but thereafter the competition was between two very determined parties, the winner being an anonymous private collector. A likely suspect is the committed Constable collector and media magnate, Baron Thomson of Fleet.
One painting Old Master dealer, Johnny van Haeften, won’t be showing at Frieze Masters this week is a wonderfully tender genre work of a child with her nurse handing money to a beggar by 17th century Dutch artist, Jacob Ochtervelt. Van Haeften bought the rediscovered painting in New York nearly two years ago for a record $4.4 million, had it cleaned up and offered it at the Maastricht fair in 2014 for $7.5 million. It has taken a while, but he has finally come to a deal with the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The gallery has just announced the acquisition, describing the painting as “a masterpiece” that will complement its collection of high life genre scenes by Vermeer and de Hooch.
Market News: Ovenden courts controversy (Telegraph)