The market for Fine Art was particularly buoyant with an impressive hammer price of £312,000 incl. buyer’s premium against a pre-sale low estimate of just £120,000. Bidders from the UK and Internationally battled it out to secure a range of lots fresh to the market which resulted in a healthy sell rate of nearly 90% by lot.
All the stars aligned last month to deliver some stellar results for both our British & European Fine Art and Old Master Paintings & Drawings sale. The market for Fine Art was particularly buoyant with an impressive hammer price of £312,000 incl. buyer’s premium against a pre-sale low estimate of just £120,000. Bidders from the UK and Internationally battled it out to secure a range of lots fresh to the market which resulted in a healthy sell rate of nearly 90% by lot.
Our 50 lot Old Master sale achieved a hammer price of £102,500 incl. buyer’s premium. It also attracted a wide range of international buyers including from Ireland, USA, Netherlands, Italy, Romania and Malta, with some standout prices, one of which was a discovery by Head of Department, Laetitia Masson.
Adrian Biddell, Head of Pictures commented on the results; ‘Pent up demand brought on by the constraints of the times in which we are all living unleashed a torrent of bidding for works fresh to the market, many of which came from private collections and estates.’
One of the most exciting lots in the sale was a drawing of a kneeling female nude by Gustav Klimt, bought in 1979 at Sotheby’s by the parents of the consignor. It was a study for his important Beethoven Frieze for the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition in 1901. A timeless figure of despair, it expressed emotions that may just possibly have struck a chord with the bidders so keen to acquire it. It was doggedly fought over and eventually sold for £41,600 incl. buyer’s premium (estimate £15,000 – 25,000) to a private UK buyer.
The lot the most ‘bid-up’ was a rare work on paper by niche Czech dissident artist Mikulas Medek. Estimated at a tempting £800-1,200, it was eventually won after a lengthy bidding battle for £20,100 incl. buyer’ premium by a private Czech buyer. Further frenzy followed when two landscapes by Kyffin Williams encouraged fierce competition. His work has become more and more popular over the last few years. Coast at St Davids and Snow at Llangwyfan was estimated each at £10,000 – 15,000, but both sold for more than double, one for £32,160 incl. buyer’s premium, the other for £34,304 incl. buyer’s premium. Other notable results included a special bravura canvas of a Rabbi reading by Ecole de Paris painter Mané-Katz £26,000 incl. buyer’s premium (pre-sale estimate £12,000-18,000) consigned from a London collection.
Of the more traditional 19th century English landscapes in the sale lot 157 stood out for its lyricism and detail. The work was consigned from a private London collection for £2,000-3,000 and thought possibly to be by the hand of Richard Redgrave, however more likely to be by the artist George William Mote. The painting describes a bucolic scene of logging in a country vale, but it could be read in a few different ways: a comment on nature triumphing over nurture and man’s best efforts to control the wilds or a political landscape, a visual metaphor for the social unrest of the day. Its ambiguity and intriguing composition are probably what attracted animated bidding and eventually hammered down for £14,300 incl. buyer’s premium.
Prior to the British & European Fine Art sale, we held our summer Old Master Paintings & Drawings sale. Among the highlights were three works acquired for in excess of £10,000: an impressive classical seashore capriccio view by Pietro Cappelli from a private Neapolitan collection which brought 13,000 incl. buyer’s premium; a small panel of a Knight on horseback from the Circle of Sir Anthony Van Dyck formerly in the collection of Baron Courtauld-Thomson which doubled estimate, selling for £12,350 incl. buyer’s premium and a rare pastel head attributed to Emilian School that soared to £28,600 incl. buyer’s premium, gaining international interest and determined online and telephone bidding.
Lot 34. Circle of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, A Knight on Horseback
Head of Old Masters & Drawings, Laetitia Masson commented: ‘Old Master Drawings is one of my passions, so I was delighted to make a few discoveries whilst researching works for the sale. This included a rare drawing by Giovanni Domenico Cappellino that came to me as anonymous, but with the proper attribution achieved its full market price of £5,652 incl. buyer’s premium. Indeed, it was within the context of a strong showing of Old Master drawings, that we were able to draw out a keen interest for the Emilian pastel that caught the imagination of the moment.’
For more information on either of the sales from last month or for further information on consigning for our next sales, please contact:
Head of Sale, British & European Fine Art, Luke Price (email@example.com)
Head of Old Master Paintings & Drawings, Laetitia Masson firstname.lastname@example.org