Sotheby’s Report Strong Prices for Spanish, Scandinavian, Orientalist and Greek Art

Sotheby’s London sale of 19th Century European Paintings (which included works by Spanish, Orientalist, German, Austrian, Scandinavian and Symbolist artists) brought a total of £11,166,050 (€13,168,101).

Vilhelm Hammershoi, Unge Egetræer (Young Oak Trees), oil on canvas. Estimate: £70,000 – 90,000. Sold for: £205,250 (€242,051). Photo: Sotheby’s.

Spanish Painting: The top-selling lots of the sale overall were two outstanding beach scenes by the Spanish master, Joaquín Sorolla. Depicting children by the sea, both works were painted over the summer of 1904 on Cabañal beach, Valencia , a favourite location of the painter. El Pescador sold for £3,065,250 (against an estimate of £2-3 million) while Niños en la playa brought £1,945,250 (above the estimate of £1-1.5 million). Seven works by the Spanish artist were presented in total and all sold very well.

The Scandinavian Sale: This session of the sale was led by Gerhard Munthe’s masterpiece, Idyll, which sold for £361,250, establishing a new record for the Norwegian artist at auction by a considerable margin. Never before offered at auction, Idyll is a seminal work by the artist, won by the grandfather of the consignor, in a lottery organised by the Kunstforeningen in Bergen in December 1886, the year in which it was painted. It depicts Munthe’s then 17-year-old fiancée, Sigrun Sandberg, sitting in profile next to Bacchus, her dog, in a Nordic summer landscape.

In the same sale, a landscape by the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi entitled Unge Egetræer (Young Oak Trees), soared above its estimate of £120,000-180,000, to sell for £247,250 to a private Scandinavian buyer.

The Orientalist Sale: The Orientalist works were led by an evocative view of The Galata Bridge in Constantinople by the German Orientalist artist, Hermann Corrodi. The atmospheric view of the Ottoman capital, with the imposing New Mosque dominating the skyline, comfortably exceeded its pre-sale estimate of £80,000-120,000 to sell for £187,250.

German & Austrian Works: Notable highlights of this section of the sale were Arnold Böcklin’s exquisite Moonlit Landscape, which was the subject of much competition and sold for £139,250 against an estimate of £60,000-80,000, and Wilhelm Leibl’s recently restituted Peasant Girl, which brought £97,250, within the pre-sale estimate.

Symbolist: The stars of the Symbolist session were Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer’s dream-like depiction of Venise, which sold for £58,850 against an estimate of £25,000-35,000, and Léon Spilliaert’s Self Portrait, which made £79,250 (est. £40,000-60,000).

Yesterday’s auction follows the previous day’s Greek Sale, which realised a total of £3,970,600 (€4,644,408), and established six new artists records, including Nicos Hadjikiriakos-Ghika’s Mistras, which made £445,250 against an estimate of £150,000-200,000, and Yiannis Tsarouchis’ Soldier Dancing Zeimbekiko, which made £349,250 against an estimate of £300,000-500,000.

Ttotal for the two days to £15,136,650 (€17,812,509).

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