Bonhams London

Tales from the London Old Master Sales: from 17,000 to 3.2 million!

Following the low energy at Christie's and Bonhams Old Master sales in London, there was more buzz and  excitement at Sotheby’s evening last night and the sale did quite well. Although some of our favourite works are reserved for the New York sales in January, there were still some works that we loved in the mix. Such as the delicate tiny "Lucretia" by Lucas Cranach the Elder which sold for just over £1million, and the Rogier van der Weyden of the Pieta - although by a follower, it is a strong work and it’s not like you can buy the original from the Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. One of the highlights of the evening was the Portrait of a Gentleman by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, a very fine, Velazquez-like work by the master. This portrait was sold for £3.2million, well above its estimate £400,000-600,000.  What makes the story interesting is that this painting was purchased at Christie’s Paris in 2003 as Circle of Rubens for a mere € 17,000!! Christie’s must be upset for getting this one wrong, so is the owner who consigned it to them. This is where one clearly sees the importance of expertise and talent for spotting good quality paintings.