Sotheby’s London Auction of 19th Century European Paintings Raises £5,403,625

Sotheby’s sale of 19th Century European Paintings in London brought a total of £5,403,625 ($6,190,388).

German, Austrian and Central European Paintings: Notable highlights of this section of the sale were Polish artist Henryk Siemiradski’s By the Fountain (lot 29), which sold for £301,250 ($345,112) against an estimate of £250,000-350,000, and Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein’s Girl with a Drawing Instrument, the Countess Thekla Ludolf (lot 4) which brought £79,250 ($90,789), over the pre-sale high estimate of £70,000. The price achieved established a record for the artist at auction.

The Orientalist Sale:The Orientalist section of the sale was led by Austrian-born Rudolf Ernst’s Leaving the Mosque (lot 67), a superbly conceived and finely observed panel in which the artist gives expression to his admiration for Muslim piety and Islamic architecture, which sold for £217,250 ($248,881). The American artist Frederick Arthur Bridgman’s In the Harem (lot 87) brought £175,250 ($200,766).

Views and Scenes of Turkey: Girolamo Gianni’s Panoramic View of Constantinople, from Beyazit, soared above its estimate of £30,000-50,000, selling for £163,250 ($187,019), establishing a record for the artist at auction by a wide margin (lot 42). A further artist’s record was achieved when View Across the Bosphorus, Constantinople by Hermann Corrodi (lot 51) – with its viewpoint on the Asian side of the Bosphorus looking west towards Seraglio Point – sold for £361,250 ($413,848) against a pre-sale estimate of £300,000-400,000. Germain Fabius Brest’s Quartier de Constantinople brought £103,250 ($118,283), comfortably within its pre-sale estimate of £80,000-120,000 (lot 48).

Spanish Painting: This session of the sale was led by Arabe delante de un tapiz (Arab Before a Tapestry), one of the most important works by Mariano Fortuny that has appeared at auction in the last decade (lot 109). Sotheby’s sale marked its first appearance at auction. Never before exhibited in public, it caused much excitement among bidders, eclipsing its pre-sale estimate of £150,000-250,000, before finally selling for £735,650 ($842,760), a new record for the artist at auction (more than double the previous record).

The period’s greatest exponent, Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla, was present in the sale with several works, among them the masterful composition Sevillanas (Ladies of Seville) which sold for £301,250 ($345,112 [lot 111]), and Portrait of Luisa Martinez de Tejeda – painted in 1907, when Sorolla was enjoying international recognition across Europe – which made £145,250 ($166,398 [lot 119]). All three works by Catalan artist Santiago Rusiñol were snapped up, the most expensive of the group El Valle, Soller (View over Soller), painted in Mallorca and not seen in public for almost a century, which realised £241,250 ($345,112 [lot 118]).

Among other top-selling lots of the Spanish painting section of the sale was Jenaro Pérez Villaamil’s 42 Views of Spanish Towns including Toledo, Seville, Córdoba, Oviedo and Granada, from the Estate of the 7th Earl of Clarendon. Competitive bidding saw this work far exceed its pre-sale estimate of £18,000-25,000, before selling for £121,250 ($138,904).

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