Christie's New York Old Master results
January 30 2014
The talk before the sale had been of a total for the week in excess of $75m, but so far Christie's main Old Master sale totals (which includes the 'Old Master' sale at $15.8m, and their curiously seperate 'Renaissance' sale at $45m) is just under $61m, including premium. The minor sales are still to come, today. Casualties included the Artemisia Gentileschi self-portrait (above), which was estimated at $3m-£5m, but which, to my surprise, stalled at $2m. The consensus seemed to be that Sotheby's had the better sale, so it'll be interesting to see what they make later today.
The Christie's sale total was boosted by the hefty $8.9m (inc. premium) realised by Jacopo Bassano's Adoration of the Shepherds, which hammered at $7.8m against the $8m-$12m estimate. The picture had been guaranteed before the sale. I believe the price represents a new record for Bassano by some way. Obviously, if the guarantor bought the painting, then we cannot be absolutely sure if the price is the price, so to speak.
The Rothschild Prayerbook sold for $13.6m (inc. premium), against an estimate of $12m-$18m. The book last sold at Christie's in London in 1999 for £8.5m. So irrespective of premiums, inflation or opportunity costs, the latest price represents a slight loss.
Update - Christie's have recently announced that last year was their best ever, in terms of overall sales in all categories. More here.
Update II - I should add that Christie's Old Master drawings sale has yet to be added to the total for the week.
Update III - the total for the week at Christie's was $64.2m.
Update IV - a reader alerts me to this Bassano in the Norton Simon museum, which sold for a very hefty £273,000 in 1969.