Sotheby’s New York 19th Century European Art Auction Takes $19.4 Million

Sotheby’s New York 19th Century European Art auction brought $19,373,250, with spirited bidding from an international pool of buyers competing for the impressive range of lots on offer. “Buyers in today’s sale were international private collectors, many of whom are assembling first rate collections of 19th Century European masterpieces,” commented Polly Sartori, Head of Sotheby’s 19th Century European Paintings department in New York. “We are delighted to be able to offer them the very best to add to their collections.”

Jean-Baptiste – Camille Corot, Ronde D’Amours; Lever De Soleil. Est. $900,000/1.2 million. Sold for: $962,500 (£601,262). Photo: Sotheby’s.

Sporting art from the collection of Edward P. Evans, whose famed Spring Hill Farm in Casanova, Virginia earned him an extraordinary record within the equine community, performed exceptionally well today. Sold to benefit the Edward P. Evans Foundation, the six paintings on offer achieved a total of $4,703,000, nearly twice their combined high estimate of $2.4 million. The group was led by John Frederick Herring Sr.’s Preparing to Start for the Doncaster Gold Cup, which soared past its presale high estimate of $600,000* and sold for $2,098,500. The five paintings by Sir Alfred James Munnings in the Collection exceeded all expectations, particularly Crossing the Ford, which nearly tripled its estimate in bringing $926,500 (est. $250/350,000). Polly Sartori added: “This demonstrates a revival of the sporting market. Today’s prices reflect the results that we were seeing in 2005, at the very top of the market for Sporting pictures. It’s very exciting to see buyers compete aggressively with a renewed interest.”

All of the six works by William Bouguereau offered in today’s auction were sold, demonstrating the demand for works by the iconic artist as well as the commitment from collectors to acquire the best works. The group totaled $3,727,000, in excess of its $3.5 million cumulative high estimate, and was led by À la fontaine (At the fountain) from 1897 that achieved $1,986,500 (est. $1/1.5 million).

A new record was set for Belgian artist Charles Hermans when his Bal Masqué sold for $1,022,500 (est. $1/1.5 million). The monumental work depicts the extravagant masked costumed balls held throughout Paris, Brussels and other European cities in the late-19th century. Sotheby’s now holds four of the five top auction prices for works by Hermans.

Highlights from French Barbizon and Realist school artists included works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and Léon-Augustin Lhermitte, led by the $962,500 result for Corot’s Ronde d’Amours; Lever du Soleil (est. $900,000/1.2 million) and Courbet’s La Neige, which brought $506,500 (est. $200/300,000).

*Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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