Christie’s Old Masters & 19th Century Sales Achieve $40,858,500

. January 30, 2010

Christie’s New York achieved a combined total of $40,858,500/£25,191,210/ €29,051,023 in two days of sales, including the two-part auction of Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Watercolors on Wednesday and a special private collection sale, A Cabinet of Curiosities: Selections from the Peter Tillou Collections on Thursday. The top lot of the sales, The entrance to the Turkish Garden Café by Louis Léopold Boilly (1761-1845) was acquired for the J. Paul Getty Museum. In announcing this important acquisition, Museum Director Michael Brand heralded the work as “one of Boilly’s greatest paintings, and a brilliant addition to the museum’s collection.” It sold for $4,562,500, setting a new world auction record for a work by the artist.

Gaetano Gandolfi
Gaetano Gandolfi (Bologna 1734-1802), Diana and Callisto, oil on canvas, 58½ x 67 in. Estimate: $800,000 – $1,200,000. Price Realized: $4,114,500. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2010

Another auction record was achieved for the newly rediscovered painting Diana and Callisto by the 17th century Italian master Gaetano Gandolfi (1734-1802). The painting sold to a private collector on the phone after a protracted bidding battle drove the price to $4,114,500. The large-scale painting is believed to be one of two paintings originally commissioned in the late 1780’s by the Russian prince Nicholay Yusupov (1751-1831). Previously known to scholars only from photos stored in the archives of the Louvre Museum, the painting emerged from a private American collection where it had remained for the last fifty years.

In total, eight paintings sold above the $1 million mark at Wednesday’s sale, including The entry of the animals into Noah’s ark by Jan Brueghel II (1601-1678), which sold for $2,882,500 – the 2nd highest price at auction for the artist, and The Four Elements: Fire, Water, Earth and Air, a series of four oils on panel by Jan Breughel II and Frans Francken II (1581-1642), which sold for $2,210,500. Works by the Italian masters Luca Carlevarijs (1663-1730) and Giovanni Paolo Panini(1691/2-1765) proved particularly appealing to bidders. Carlevarijs’s View of Piazza San Marco with the Torre dell’Orologio, Venice achieved $1,874,500, well over its estimate of $800,000-1,200,000 and Panini’s View of Piazza del Popolo, Rome, realized $1,202,500, against its estimate of $600,000-800,000. A third auction record was achieved for An Allegory of Faith by Jacob Duck (c. 1600-1667), which sold for $542,500.

As the grand finale of Wednesday’s morning sale, Sir William Orpen’s ‘In Dublin Bay’: Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, inspired a head-to-head competition between two bidders in the the saleroom, finally selling for $1,370,500 – the 2nd highest price at auction for the artist..

Among Old Master drawings, the top price of $410,500 was achieved for Christ among the Doctors, a pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor drawing heightened with gold by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), which far exceeded its estimate of $150,00-250,000. The sale’s fourth auction record was achieved for an ink and wash design for an elaborate altarpiece by the 17th century Spanish master Alonso Cano (1601-1667), which realized $194,500, well above its estimate of $15,000-20,000.

A Cabinet of Curiosities: Selections from the Peter Tillou Collections
On Thursday, as a complement to its sales of Old Master & 19th Century Art, Christie’s presented A Cabinet of Curiosities: Selections from the Peter Tillou Collections, a mix of Old Master paintings, European furniture, tribal art and decorative items from the vast collection of the prominent antiques dealer Peter Tillou. The sale totaled $1,332,000/£822,222/€958,273, with 77% of the items sold by lot. Catherine Elkies, Head of Private Collections at Christie’s, commented: “We were pleased to see buyers responding so favorably to this wide-ranging collection of items, which proved a fitting complement to our major sales this week. We witnessed strong competition not only for the many exceptional items of European furniture and fine art, but also the more eclectic and unusual items in Peter’s collection, including superb examples of tribal art, cameo glass, and an array of fossils, geodes, amonites and shells.”

The top lot of the sale was the Alfred Morrison Center-Table featured in the Paris 1867 International Exhibition, which achieved $80,500. Among the paintings offered, a half-length seated Portrait of a young man in a white turban and red scarf attributed to the British artist William Daniell (1769-1837) was among the top ten prices, selling for $50,000. Among the selection of tribal art figures, masks and clubs offered, the top price was achieved for a Kota Reliquary Guardian Figure from Gabon, which sold for $41,250.

Category: Auction News

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