Georgina Adam tells in the Financial Times the now familiar tale of a mis-identified work of art that nearly passed unnoticed:
This happened last month, when a small painting, showing an owl perched on a moonlit branch, was put up for sale at Azur Enchères in Cannes on the French Riviera. It was catalogued as “late 19th century” and estimated at just €80-€100, but thanks to the internet, at least two dealers recognised the painting as probably the work of the renowned, and hugely sought-after, German artist Caspar David Friedrich. “We saw it on the internet at midday, and the sale started at 2pm,” says Bertrand Talabardon of the Parisian gallery Talabardon & Gautier. “I immediately asked for extra photographs, particularly of the stretcher, and was convinced it was by Friedrich.” He had to wait three hours for the painting to appear and, when another bidder went after the picture too, he was forced to pay €350,000 to bag it. However, the story may not be finished, as the vendors are trying to have the sale cancelled: there are precedents for this under French law. “For the moment it’s ours, and we are waiting to see what happens next,” says Talabardon, who believes the painting is worth “much, much more than the price I paid”.
The Art Market: Censorship in the Gulf (Financial Times)