“Long winter for Old Masters” headlined the Financial Times’ Collecting section this past weekend, referring to the bad performances of London Old Master auctions the previous week. Although Georgina Adam is right in making this statement, what isn’t mentioned is the serious lack of good quality paintings on offer, the ridiculously high estimates given by auction house experts, and a headline lot failing to sell because of authenticity concerns.
After a calm August, the art world frenzy is starting to pick up and this week's auction at Nye & Co in New Jersey caused great excitement among the Old Master dealers. This small work on board catalogued as Continental School, 19th century with an estimate of $500-800 sold for $870,000 believed to be a lost-panel by a teenage Rembrandt.
London has two great Old Master exhibitions closing this week, the Moroni exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Rembrandt late works at the National Gallery. With Moroni we have the great portraitist of the Renaissance anticipating the realistic style of Caravaggio and later Manet; and Rembrandt, the undisputed star of the 17th century Dutch art scene.