The Old Master drawing market suddenly took off today with the £6.8m sale at Sotheby’s, including this Canaletto which made nearly £2m against a £500k estimate. Here’s Sotheby’s release:
A rare, newly-discovered drawing by Canaletto sold for a record £1,945,250
(US$ 3,050,347) at Sotheby’s London. Completely unrecorded, this exceptional work – a view of the Campo di San Giacomo di Rialto – had not been seen in public since 1876. Its appearance at auction today generated huge excitement, culminating in an intense bidding battle between six determined collectors. Together they drove the price to a sum more than five times the original estimate of £300,000-£500,00, and four times the previous record for a drawing by the artist ($715,000/ £493,103 achieved for view of Warwick Castle, from the John R. Gaines Collection, sold in New York in November 1986.)
The drawing came to Sotheby’s via an unsolicited phone call. Unsuspecting its true value, the consignors to today’s auction had kept this rare drawing preserved – unknown to scholars – for over a century in their private collection.