Christie's 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.

1980s Generation Enters the Major League of Evening Auctions in London

This week London offers so many options and distractions for art lovers from around the world, with several art fairs, gallery shows and auctions taking place around the major attraction of Frieze Art Fair. We already made a must have list from a visit to the Christie's contemporary viewing, but it's barely our first stop and we are breaking the bank already, even if it is imaginary. When did even the young good art become so unobtainable? Ryan Trecartin, Oscar Murillo and Tauba Auerbach, all born  in 1980s, are the new young talent making their debut in the major league of Contemporary Evening Auction this week. Those who follow the art market were probably expecting this, as both Murillo and Auerbach have reached amazing auction records this past year: Auerbach's 2010 canvas made 505,875 pounds in June 2013, and Murillo's 2011 work sold for 253,875 pounds at the same sale. It is so encouraging to see a video work by the young Trecartin included in the evening sale too, with an estimate of 20,000-30,000 pounds. We want more collectors buying video works! Another of our favorite is a large work by the brilliant Arte Povera artist Pino Pascali from 1964. Pascali was one of the driving forces behind this Italian movement, and exploded the traditional boundaries between painting, sculpture, language, and performance; all present in the work on view at Christie's. The artist died in an accident at the age of 32, cutting his career short having produced about only 100 works or so. Estimated at 400,000-600,000 pounds, we think it might go for much higher at the Italian Sale on 18th of October.