NEW YORK - Sotheby's two-day sale of Old Master Paintings in New York brought an unprecedented total of $110,993,240 (est. $58.2/100.5 million*), the highest total ever for a sale in this category worldwide1. The top selling lot was a rare, late work by Rembrandt, Saint James the Greater, from 1661, which sold for $25,800,000 to an anonymous buyer. The series of auctions also included Old Master Drawings, European Works of Art and Sculpture and a sale of property from the gallery and private collection of Otto Naumann, the pre-eminent dealer of Dutch Old Master Paintings in America , bringing the grand total for the week to $118,056,600. Auction records were established for Francisco de Zurbarán, Joseph Wright of Derby , Baccio Bandinelli and Pierre-Joseph Redouté and over the course of the week, 14 works were sold for more than $1 million.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Saint James the Greater (detail), signed and dated 1661. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
George Wachter, Vice Chairman and Co-Chairman of Sotheby's Old Master Paintings Department Worldwide said, "This has been an exceptionally exciting series of sales -- the strongest totals ever realized in this category and one of the most remarkable auctions I have ever been a part of. Over the past week we saw a number of new private collectors, particularly Americans, entering the market. At the same time, the trade has remained very active and the combination of those factors contributed to higher prices than one might have expected six months ago. Throughout the week, collectors were encouraged by the health and buoyancy of this market."
Old Master Paintings - January 25, 2007
The two-day sale of Old Master Paintings totalled $110,993,240. Highlighting the series of sales was Rembrandt's emotive half-length portrait of Saint James the Greater. The painting was sought-after by two determined bidders, finally selling to an anonymous buyer bidding through a Sotheby's representative for $28,500,000, the second highest price ever paid for a work by this master. The auction began with another work by Rembrandt - Portrait of a Young Woman with a Black Cap, a work that has been recently reattributed to the artist by the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP). Multiple bidders vied for the painting from 1632, driving the final price to $9,000,000, easily exceeding the high estimate of $4 million.
A group of Spanish works was also among the highlights of the sale. The five paintings offered brought a total of $10.6 million, doubling the high estimate. Among them was a beautiful work by Francisco de Zurbarán, Christ and the Virgin in the House of Nazareth, which surpassed a high estimate of $2 million to sell for $3,512,000, a record for the artist at auction. Also of note was El Greco's Annunciation which brought $4,184,000, more than five times the high estimate of $800,000.
One of the most exciting moments of the sale came when Joseph Wright of Derby 's Portrait of Captain Robert Shore Milnes sold for $7,208,000, against a presale estimate of $1/1.5 million, a record for the artist at auction. The bidding began with a bid of $1 million shouted from the audience, and from there as many as five different bidder fought for the outstanding work before it finally sold to the dealer Jean-Luc Baroni who purchased it on behalf of an American collector.
Among the sculpture offered was a magnificent Important and Large French Bronze Figure of a Pacing Horse, attributed to Antoine Coysevox, 'Sculpteur du Roi', and workshop, late 17th century, which is very possibly a presentation model for the equestrian monument of Louis XIV, erected at Rennes in 1726, and destroyed in 1792, which sold for $824,000 to a private European collector. Also included was an important group of Italian Renaissance sculpture, chief among which was a powerful and Important over Life-sized Italian Marble Bust of a Young Man, circa 1540-50, attributed to Baccio Bandinelli, a contemporary of Michelangelo, which brought $576,000.
The Otto Naumann Ltd. Gallery Sale - January 25, 2007
The sale of selections from the gallery and private collection of Otto Naumann, the pre-eminent dealer of Dutch Old Master Paintings in America brought a total of $2,909,100, towards the high estimate of $3.1 million. The offering comprised a select number of paintings and drawings as well as many of the objects typically found in 17th and 18th century Dutch scenes, including drinking glasses or roemers, Dutch cabinets or kas, porcelain and ceramics, silver-mounted objects, carved frames and candlesticks, among other collectibles. Highlighting the sale was Adoration of the Magi by Jan de Bray, oil on oak panel dated 1658, which sold for $228,000, surpassing a high estimate of $150,000. Mr. Wachter noted, "In every way, this sale was a success - with a total of $2.92 million and sell-through rate of 91% by lot and 95% by value. Present in the salesroom and on the phones was a tremendous number of Otto's friends, clients of Sotheby's, major collectors of Dutch art and even institutions."
Old Master Drawings - January 24, 2007
Leading off the week was the sale of Old Master Drawings which totalled $4,154,260 and was highlighted by the sale of a beautiful and rare double-sided drawing by Francisco-Jose Goya y Lucientes which brought $1,048,000, more than three times the high estimate of $300,000. The drawing, which was sought-after by three determined bidders, was acquired by the Museo del Prado in Madrid.Related News
Rembrandt's Saint James the Greater Sells For $25.8M