For the first time since 2016, Christie’s offered Old Masters in January and a week of auctions – live and online – began on 25 January with two live sales that totalled $62,776,6660. Remastered: Old Masters from the Collection of J.E. Safra, showed the power of the no-reserve strategy, selling 100% by lot, with more than one in five lots sale-wide achieving at least 150% of their low estimates.
The top lot was an extraordinary bound group of drawings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry for the famous Fables of Jean de La Fontaine, which fetched $2.7 million, almost twice its low estimate. Other top results included Joseph Mallord William Turner’s view of The Splügen Pass, which brought $1,008,000; Joos Van Cleve’s Portrait of a gentleman holding gloves, half-length, which realized $945,000; and Aert de Gelder’s Esther at Her Toilet, which made $882,000.
The day closed with Old Masters, which brought $44,251,060 in total. The top lot was Francisco de Goya’s Portrait of Doña María Vicenta Barruso Valdés and Portrait of her mother Doña Leonora Antonia Valdés de Barruso, which made $16,420,000, smashing the previous record for Goya.
Other highlights included Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s Kermesse of Saint George, which achieved $2,940,00; Canaletto’s Rialto Bridge, Venice, from the south with an embarkation from the Paul G. Allen Collection, which brought in $2,700,000; Joseph Mallord William Turner’s view of Pope’s Villa at Twickenham, which fetched $4,620,000; and a newly rediscovered Watteau, Le Pèlerinage a l’Ile de Cythère, which made $1,860,000.
François de Poortere, Christie’s Head of Old Master Paintings, said, “The Old Masters market showed depth and strength today. American bidders led the way, along with Europe and China, and strong activity from the trade. Works of high quality attracted great interest, with one in five lots in the Safra sale making at least 150 percent of the low estimate and we set records for seven artists, including Goya, Oudry, and van Reymerswale.”
Remastered: Old Masters From The Collection Of J.E. Safra
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in the first half of 2019 that totalled £2.2 billion / $2.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectables, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.