Master Paintings Total $48.4 Million at Sotheby's New York
Pristine Pair of Venetian Views by Canaletto Lead Sotheby’s $48.4 Million Evening Sale of MASTER PAINTINGS The Waterfront Views of 18th-Century Venice Achieve $4.2 Million * 14 WORKS EXCEED $1 MILLION * Striking Portrait Painted for the Court of Pope Innocent X By Iconic Spanish Artist Velázquez Fetches $4.1 Million Monumental Painting of Saint Margaret By Italian Renaissance Master Titian Sells to an Online Bidder for $2.2 Million ORIGINALLY IN THE FAMED COLLECTION OF KING CHARLES I Emerging for the First Time in over a Century, Nicolas Lancret’s L’Hiver (Winter) Sets New Artist Record at $2.7 Million MASTERS WEEK SALES SERIES CONTINUES TOMORROW
NEW YORK, 1 February 2018 – Christopher Apostle, Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department in New York, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled with the results of tonight’s sale, which saw varied and spirited bidding from international institutions, private collectors and the trade. All major schools are represented at the highest end of the auction, demonstrating strength across the diversity of our market – Italian, Spanish, German French, Flemish and Dutch pictures all commanded standout prices. We saw competition for both traditional scenes, such as the Canaletto views and Lancret interior, as well as for arresting images like the two works by Cranach the Elder. The energy in the room felt really great and we look forward to carrying that into tomorrow’s Day Sale.”
Tonight’s sale was led by an impressive pair of Venetian views by Canaletto, which sold for $4.2 million (left, estimate $3/4 million). Most likely completed in England in the 1740s, the pair offers waterfront views of two of the most recognizable façades in La Serenissima: the Church of the Redentore and the Prisons of San Marco. While there are other known views of the Church of the Redentore by Canaletto, the present view of the Prisons of San Marco is a unique composition for the artist of which no other version is known.
A monumental painting by leading Italian Renaissance
master Titian and his workshop sold to an online bidder for $2.2 million (estimate $2/3 million). One of only two known versions of the subject by the artist, Saint Margaret was first recorded in the royal collection of King Charles I (1600-1649), where it was displayed alongside the King’s mostly highly prized works at Whitehall palace. Following the King's execution in 1649, much of the collection was sold quickly to raise funds for the state, while others were sold to pay off the King’s debt. Inventory recordings have confirmed the present work was sold to royal plumber John Embry for £100.
Thirteen works on offer from the extraordinary private collection of J.E. Safra together brought $8.4 million, led by a pair of still-life paintings from the pioneering female painter Fede Galizia. Sold for $2.1 million, the present pair is a testament to the artist’s sensitive approach to subject matter and acute eye for detail (estimate $2/3 million).
A rare and striking portrait of Cristoforo Segni, Maggiordomo to Pope Innocent X, painted and signed by both iconic Spanish artist Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) and Italian painter Pietro Martire Neri, fetched $4.1 million (estimate $3/4 million). Painted around 1650, during Velázquez’s second trip to Rome, the work is one of a series of portraits painted for the Court of Pope Innocent X on the occasion of his Jubilee, the most famous being Portrait of Innocent X (1650, Galleria Doria Pamphilij). Having remained hidden in the present collection since the mid-20th century, the painting was recently featured in an exhibition dedicated to Velázquez at the Grand Palais, Paris in 2015.
Competition for works by the great German master Lucas Cranach the Elder drove multiple top prices. One of the artist’s most sensual and beautiful versions of Lucretia – a favorite subject of the artist – fetched $2.9 million (left, estimate $2/3 million). Painted circa 1510-13, it is a supreme example of the type of erotic historical painting that was produced for private patrons – ironically right in the geographic and ideological heart of the Reformation. The first portrait of the great reformer Martin Luther, the German scholar and priest whose criticisms of the Catholic church led to the seismic theological shift which changed the political and religious landscape of Europe forever, commanded $2.3 million (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). Painted in Wittenberg around 1520, the portrait shows Luther during one of the most important, and dangerous, 18 months of his life, shortly before his excommunication by the Pope and his summons by the Emperor Charles V to defend his actions at the Diet of Worms in 1521.
Emerging from a private family collection for the first time in nearly 130 years, Nicolas Lancret’s charming interior scene L’Hiver (Winter) – from his celebrated Four Season series – sold for $2.7 million (estimate $1.5/2 million). Known only from a black and white engraving, the early-18th century painting has remained in the same collection since 1889 and is one of the most important discoveries of Lancret’s work in recent history.
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