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  • Sorolla's La Tres Velas Makes 2,133,600 GBP in London
    November 18, 2004 LONDON, ENGLAND.

    Joaquin Sorolla. Las Tres Velas (The Three Sails), 1923. Property restituted to the heirs of Max and Fanny Steinhal.

    Sotheby's fifth annual sale of Spanish Paintings once again demonstrated the continuing strength of international demand for Spanish works. The sale realised a total of ?6,932,680 (Euro 9,894,343). Strong prices were achieved for a wide range of works, with competitive bidding both on the telephones and in the room.

    Helene Montgomery, Managing Director of Sotheby's Spain, said: "We are thrilled to see the continuing demand for good quality Spanish works. Today's sale saw active participation from both sides of the Atlantic."

    Chief among the highlights, a magnificent, recently restituted work, Las Tres Velas (The Three Sails) by Joaquin Sorolla sold to a private American collector for ?2,133,600 (ˆ3,045,081). The price achieved ranks as the second highest price ever realised for a work by Sorolla at auction. (The existing record was established at Sotheby's, London, last year when La Hora del Bano sold for ?3,701,600.)

    Executed in 1903, and acquired very shortly thereafter by the German-Jewish banker and philanthropist Max Steinthal and his wife Fanny, Las Tres Velas (The Three Sails) is one of Sorolla's earliest and most successful large scale Valencian compositions. Impounded twice - first by the Nazis and then by the authorities of the former East Germany - the picture, and the rest of the Steinthal collection, only re-emerged when the packing cases that contained them had to be moved from the basement of the Dresden Gemaldegalerie during the calamitous floods of 2002.

    Aside from Las Tres Velas, numerous other works by Sorolla also performed well, with six other works by the artist realizing a combined total of ?1,591,600.

    There was also strong interest in works by Ignacio Zuloaga, whose Campesino con Paisaje tripled its pre-sale low estimate of ?15,000 selling for a final price of ?45,600 (ˆ65,080). Another portrait by the artist, Retrato de Antonio de Gonzale Vigil, also performed well, selling for ?21,600 (ˆ30,828) - establishing a new auction record for a work on paper by the artist

    New auction records were also set for works by Jose Gutierrez Solana (whose Baile de Los Chulos con Guirnaldas made ?207,200/ˆ295,716) and Ramon Casas (whose Chula Con Manton Amarillo (Girl with a Yellow Shawl) sold for ?173,600/$320,761/ˆ247,762).

    A number of works exceeded all expectations, handsomely exceeding their pre-sale estimates. Among these, Joaquin Sunyer's Retrato de Mujer (Portrait of a Woman) made ?106,400 (ˆ151,854) against a pre-sale estimate of ?70,000-?90,000; Vuelta de la Pesca by Enrique Martinez Cubells sold for ?45,600 against a pre-sale estimate of ?25,000-?35,000; and Cecili Pla's Dia de Playa made ?48,000 against a pre-sale estimate of ?28,000-?35,000.