The report is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
On Thursday, Christie’s held its Classic week old masters auction at the house’s Rockefeller center location. Hammering at $19.6 million, the sale generated $24.2 million with buyer’s premium across 49 lots, landing at the low end of the pre-sale low expectation of $19.3 million to $29 million. Overall, it realized a sell-through rate of 71.2 percent.
22 percent of lots achieved a price above the high estimate 15 percent sold within their estimate ranges and 26 percent failed to reach their low estimates. 21 lots failed to sell.
Live-streamed from the auction house’s New York sale room and led by chairman and global head of private sales Adrien Meyer, the auction proved lucrative to one major consigner: the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. Christie’s sold 9 of the 12 guaranteed works consigned from the museum’s permanent collection across the house’s European art and Old Masters sales which together made $6.6 million with buyer’s premium. That is more than double the total pre-sale estimate of $2.25 million given to the 10 works from the museum consignment.
The sales follow the museum’s announcement in mid-September of long-term plans to deaccession works from its holdings to raise money for collection maintenance—stating a goal of $40 million for the fund. The Brooklyn museum is among the few taking advantage of the temporary relaxed guidelines issued by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) as a coronavirus relief measure. More deaccessions are to come, according to the museum’s leadership.
Among the top lots was Lucas Cranach the Elder’s 16th-century work, Lucretia, which hammered at $4.2 million, four times above its low estimate of $1.2 million. It eventually sold for $5.1 million to a buyer on the phone with Cyanne Chutkow, Christie’s deputy chairman of impressionist and modern art. Prior to the sale, it remained in the Brooklyn Museum’s holdings for a century since its bequest in 1921.
15th century Mantua painter Lorenzo Costa’s Portrait of a gentleman hammered at $110,000 against an estimate of $60,000, making $137,500 with buyer’s premium. Italian old master Donato de’ Bardi’s tempera, oil and gold panel depicting Saint Jerome, hammered at $95,000, against an estimate of 80,000 to $12,000, and selling ultimately for $118,750 with buyer’s fees. Francesco Botticini’s 15th-century tempera and gold panel, Saints Anne and Joachim, hammered below its low estimate at $28,000, selling for $35,000 total. Gifted to the museum in 1925, Giovanni di Marco’s 14-century arched gold panel, depicting the Madonna and child flanked by saints, sold for $75,000 with premium, hammering below the low estimate.
Among the other top results from the sale that were not from the museum’s collection include Dutch 17th century painter Govert Flinck’s portrait A young man in a gorget with a plumed hat, recently exhibited at Amsterdam’s Rembrandt House Museum in 2018. It hammered at $1.2 million ($1.5 million with premium), against an estimate of $700,000, going to a phone bidder with Jonquil O’Reily, old masters specialist.
Artemisia Gentileschi’s, The Triumph of Galatea, sold for $2.1 million, double the low estimate. The price meets her second highest record of €1.8 million ($2.1 million) set in December 2017 for the sale of Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria at a Paris Auction.
Anthony van Dyck’s recently rediscovered portrait of military official and noble John VIII, Count of Nassau-Siegen, which was exhibited at the Venice Palazzo Ducale in 2019, was a star result. It drew competitive bidding between clients represented by Jonquil O’Reilly and Maria Los, Christie’s deputy chairman and head of client advisory, hammering well past its high estimate at $1.6 million and going to Los’s client for $2 million with buyer’s premium.
Five additional works from the Brooklyn museum sold in the European art sale held today, including Gustave Courbet’s outdoor scene, bords de la loue avec rochers à gauche, which sold for $789,000. 19th century British painter Philip Wilson Steer’s verdant landscape, Under the trees made $56,250, below the estimate of $60,000. Camille Corot’s portrait of a woman sold for $125,000 and 19th century Dutch painter Henrik Willem Mesdag’s seascape, titled Marine, sold for $175,000. Charles Daubigny’s 19th century landscape, Un Verger, failed to sell.
The last of the six old masters works from the Brooklyn museum, a painting depicting the virgin and child by a Netherlands artist dated circa 1500 is on offer in an online sale running until October 20. Another work will sell in a forthcoming European art sale.