Christie’s New York fall classic week sales brought in a total of $73.8 million across 10 auctions; $66.3 million was generated in live sales and $7 million in online sales. The auction house reported 48 percent of the works sold achieved prices above the high estimates.
The result surpasses the house’s October 2019 New York classic week total of $59.9 million achieved across a total of nine sales.
A major deaccession of 12 works from the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which has caused consternation among some commenters, injected some drama into this season’s fall classic week sales. In the $24 million Old Masters sale last week on October 15, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s 16th-century painting Lucretia, realized $5.1 million after competition from five bidders and was the second highest selling work across ten auctions. Property from the Brooklyn Museum sold across the European Part I and Old Masters sales saw 10 of the 12 lots generate a total of $6.8 million, more than double the pre-sale low estimate of $2.4 million.
Other tops lots in that sale included 17th century painter Artemisia Gentileschi’s, The Triumph of Galatea, which sold for $2.1 million, double the low estimate. The price comes along with the opening of London’s National Gallery survey of the artist. Elsewhere in the sale, Anthony Van Dyck‘s rediscovered portrait of a military official sold for $2 million.
The Exceptional Sale achieved a total of $17.7 million. The top lot of the sale was William Shakespeare’s 1623 First Folio. Comprising 36 plays, the rare piece sold for $10 million, beating the last record price of $6.1 million paid for a Shakespeare volume at auction in 2001. It was sold by Mills College in Oakland, California, where it resided since 1977. It was purchased by Brooklyn-based rare book dealer Stephan Loewentheil. The price still comes shy of the world record for a book at auction. In 2012, a printed Bay Psalm Book went for for $14.2 million at Sotheby’s.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ reclining nude Odalisque, of which there are four other versions, sold for $1.7 million from the Jayne Wrightsman collection. The collector purchased the work at Sotheby’s London in 2001 for $355,500. That is a 378 percent increase in value over nearly two decades. Together, the two sales representing the Wrightsman collection generated a total of $10.1 million.
On Tuesday, Christie’s closed its online Old Masters and Sculpture sale, which brought in a total of $2.6 million across 124 lots, and realized only a 65 percent sell-through rate. The leading lot of the online sale was a Virgin and Child painting by a Netherlandish School artist made circa 1500, from the Brooklyn Museum. It sold for $212,500, making 7 times the estimate of $30,000. It came to the market after a century in the museum’s holdings.
Additional top prices from the online old masters sale include Italian painter Paolo Fiammingo’s Judgement of Paris, which sold for $175,000, against an estimate of $80,000. It last sold at Christie’s London in 1946 for 140 guineas (today’s equivalent of £5,902). The sale marks an increase in value of 2,152 percent in seven decades. It’s first owner was German-British art collector and financier Otto Biet.
A triptych of The Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels by The Master of the Lazzaroni Madonna, which made its debut at auction, totaled $112,500, more than doubling the estimate of $40,000. Lieutenant Colonel George Allan of the 16th Hussars, ‘The Hussar’ by Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A. sold for $93,750. Another work new to the market was a Netherlandish painting The Crucifixion, which went for $87,500 against an estimate of $20,000.