Bloomberg reports on Sotheby’s Old Master sale which was just under Christie’s number from the day before. The sell-through was lower but strong prices were posted for fresh works:
Sotheby’s auction fetched 13.3 million pounds with fees against a low,before-commission estimate of 9.5 million pounds. At the equivalent sale last year, Sotheby’s tallied 32.8 million pounds.[ . . . ]
A painting of a Florentine banker tipped to fetch 200,000 pounds ($294,150) at Sotheby’s sale last night of Old Master artworks in London sold for 15 times more; [ . . . ] The 2-foot, 10-inch-high banker portrait, by the little- known early-16th-century Italian Girolamo da Carpi, was new to the market and sold to a telephone buyer for 3.1 million pounds.
The success of the da Carpi painting “made a lot of sense,” said London dealer Jean-Luc Baroni. “It was a beautiful 16th-century picture. The artist is a rare and good portraitist, and at the moment only the best-quality works are selling.”
“A lot of my clients don’t want to sell pictures at the moment,” said the London dealer Johnny van Haeften, in an interview. “They regard Old Masters on the wall as something solid at a time when equity prices are going down the plughole. The auction houses are going to struggle to find good works.”
Van Haeften, bidding in the salesroom on behalf of a U.S. collector, paid a top price of 3.6 million pounds for a small, 9- inch-high panel painting by the 17th-century Dutch artist Frans van Mieris the Elder. Held in an English private collection since 1975, the meticulously detailed interior scene showed an expensively dressed young woman feeding an African Grey parrot. It was forecast to fetch between 500,000 pounds to 700,000 pounds.
“It’s the best picture of its type. The detail is fantastic and it’s in wonderful condition,” said van Haeften, who paid the previous record of 1.6 million pounds for the artist at Sotheby’s in July.
Banker Portrait Fetches 15 Times Forecast at London Art Auction (Bloomberg)