Asian New Money Fights Russia as Constable Tops Art Sale

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Source: Christie's Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg.

"The Lock" by John Constable. The 1824 landscape was sold by Christie's International in its auction of Old Master and British paintings in London on July 3.

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Source: Christie's Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg.

"The Lock" by John Constable. The 1824 landscape was sold by Christie's International in its auction of Old Master and British paintings in London on July 3. Close

"The Lock" by John Constable. The 1824 landscape was sold by Christie's International in its auction of Old Master... Read More

Source: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg.

"A Bust of a Man in a Gorget and Cap" by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. The 1626-27 panel painting was one of 15 Dutch Old Masters from the collection of Pieter and Olga Dreesmann being sold by Christie's International in London on July 3. Christie's confirmed it was bought by an Asian client for 8.4 million pounds. Close

"A Bust of a Man in a Gorget and Cap" by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. The 1626-27 panel painting was one of 15 Dutch... Read More

Source: Christie's Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg

"Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan," a 1610 oil-on-copper painting by Dutch Mannerist artist Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael. It was bought by a telephone bidder for 4.6 million pounds with fees in an auction of Old Master paintings at Christie's International in London on July 3 2012. Close

"Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan," a 1610 oil-on-copper painting by Dutch Mannerist artist Joachim Anthonisz... Read More

Source: Christie's Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg.

An unrestored gold-ground panel painting of Christ flanked by Saints Paul and Peter by the 14th-century Sienese artist Pietro Lorenzetti. It sold for a record 5.1 million pounds in a Christie's International auction of Old Master paintings in London on July 3. Close

An unrestored gold-ground panel painting of Christ flanked by Saints Paul and Peter by the 14th-century Sienese... Read More

Source: Christie's Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg

A still life of apples in a wicker basket by the 17th-century Spanish artist Juan de Zurbaran. The work sold for 2.7 million pounds with fees in a Christie's International auction of Old Master paintings in London on July 3. Close

A still life of apples in a wicker basket by the 17th-century Spanish artist Juan de Zurbaran. The work sold for 2.7... Read More

Source: Sladmore Gallery via Bloomberg

"The Kiss" by Rodin. This bronze version of the marble group, cast during the artist's lifetime, was sold by the Sladmore Gallery for $2 million at the Masterpiece fair in London, running through July 4, 2012. Close

"The Kiss" by Rodin. This bronze version of the marble group, cast during the artist's lifetime, was sold by the... Read More

Source: Symbolic & Chase via Bloomberg

The pair of JAR earrings was sold for $500,000 by the dealers Symbolic & Chase at the Masterpiece fair in London. The event, now in its third year, runs through July 4, 2012. Close

The pair of JAR earrings was sold for $500,000 by the dealers Symbolic & Chase at the Masterpiece fair in London. The... Read More

Source: Colnaghi via Bloomberg

A painting of a man with horse in a landscape by George Stubbs. The 1768 work is being offered by the Bond Street dealers Colnaghi, priced at about 1 million euros, in the Master Paintings promotion in London, running through July 6, 2012. Close

A painting of a man with horse in a landscape by George Stubbs. The 1768 work is being offered by the Bond Street... Read More

Source: Stephen Ongpin Fine Art via Bloomberg

An pencil study of the U.S. writer James Lord by Alberto Giacometti. This 1954 work is being exhibited by the St. James's-based dealer Stephen Ongpin in the Master Drawings promotion in London, running through July 5, 2012. Close

An pencil study of the U.S. writer James Lord by Alberto Giacometti. This 1954 work is being exhibited by the St.... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

"Campo San Giacomo di Rialto, Venice," a newly discovered pen and brown drawing by Canaletto that was included in Sotheby's July 4 auction of Old Master drawings in London. It sold for 1.9 million pounds, a record price for a drawing by the artist. Close

"Campo San Giacomo di Rialto, Venice," a newly discovered pen and brown drawing by Canaletto that was included in... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

"The Surrender of the Royal Prince," a 17th-century painting of an Anglo-Dutch sea battle by Willem van de Velde the Younger. The work sold for a top price of 5.3 million pounds at Sotheby's July 4 auction of Old Master paintings in London. Close

"The Surrender of the Royal Prince," a 17th-century painting of an Anglo-Dutch sea battle by Willem van de Velde the... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

"The Feilitzsch Altarpiece," a 1511 painting by the German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder. The last multi panel painting of its type by the artist left in private hands, it sold in Sotheby's auction of Old Master paintings in London on July 4. The price was 4.3 million pounds to its sale guarantor. Close

"The Feilitzsch Altarpiece," a 1511 painting by the German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder. The last multi panel... Read More

Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg.

"Christ Among the Doctors," a 1609 painting by the rare Italian Baroque painter Orazio Borgianni. The work sold during Sotheby's July 4, 2012 auction of Old Master paintings in London. Close

"Christ Among the Doctors," a 1609 painting by the rare Italian Baroque painter Orazio Borgianni. The work sold... Read More

Paintings by Constable and Rembrandt starred at a $133 million auction in London last night that set a record total for any sale of Old Masters.

Constable’s 1824 landscape “The Lock” sold for a top price of 22.4 million pounds ($35 million), a record for the artist at auction, as Christie’s International found buyers for 84 percent of 64 lots.

In recent years, totals at auctions of historic European paintings -- traditionally the most expensive of artworks -- have lagged behind those at sales of Impressionist and contemporary pieces. Demand last night was bolstered by new bidders from emerging economies, said Christie’s, which had showed some of the pictures in Doha, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong and Amsterdam.

“We’re seeing the internationalization of the Old-Master market,” Jussi Pylkkanen, president of Christie’s Europe, said after the sale. “Asian and Russian clients are now buying.”

Christie’s confirmed that an Asian client was the lone telephone bidder for the 1626-27 Rembrandt painting “A Man in a Gorget and Cap,” at 8.4 million pounds. The work was one of 11 paintings being sold by Pieter Dreesmann, the son of the late Dutch department-store heir Anton Dreesmann.

All the Dreesmann lots sold, raising 25.3 million pounds, against an upper estimate of 27.6 million pounds. Most had been acquired within the last 15 years from the Maastricht- based dealer, the late Robert Noortman.

Asian bidders paid a further 2.6 million pounds and 1.8 million pounds respectively for 17th-century still lives by Balthasar van der Ast and Adriaen Coorte from the collection.

Taste Tribute

“It was a tribute to Noortman’s taste,” the Paris-based dealer Robert Haboldt said. “The market is good for quality pictures in fine condition that haven’t been overestimated.”

The Constable was the most highly valued lot, at 20 million pounds to 25 million pounds, and was consigned by Baroness Carmen ‘Tita’ Thyssen-Bornemisza, a former Miss Spain, who became Baron Hans Thyssen-Bornemisza’s fifth wife in 1985. It had been acquired by him at Sotheby’s (BID) in 1990 for 10.8 million pounds, then a record for any British painting sold at auction.

The work was guaranteed to sell courtesy of a third party “irrevocable bidder” that dealers identified as one of the auction house’s Russian clients. There were no other bidders and the unidentified guarantor was the buyer, Christie’s said.

Price Question

“There just aren’t any private collectors for this kind of picture at the moment,” the New York-based dealer Richard L. Feigen said. “The Constable sold for the price of a second-tier Warhol. It’s ridiculous.”

Feigen said the Constable was the best painting in the sale, together with an unrestored panel of Christ flanked by Saints Paul and Peter by the 14th-century Sienese master Pietro Lorenzetti.

Thought by experts to the lower predella section from an altarpiece now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this was bought by Feigen for a record 5.1 million pounds, five times the lower estimate. The New York dealer wouldn't reveal the identity of the client he was representing.

Other records included the 4.6 million pounds given by a phone bidder for an oil-on-copper painting by Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael of the god Vulcan surprising his wife Venus in bed with Mars, and the 3.7 million pounds from the London dealer Jean-Luc Baroni for a Pieter Jansz Saenredam landscape. Both these 17th- century Dutch works were discoveries in unrestored condition.

The event raised 85.1 million pounds with fees against an estimate of 61.8 million pounds to 88.3 million pounds, based on hammer prices. It surpassed the 68.4 million-pound previous high for an Old Master auction at Christie’s in December 2009.

Masterpiece Sale

Elsewhere, a Rodin bronze of “The Kiss” was snapped up at the Masterpiece London fair.

Now in its third year, Masterpiece is billed as the U.K. capital’s equivalent of the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, with the addition of luxury brands such as Rolls- Royce cars, Ruinart champagne and Vacheron Constantin watches.

More than 160 dealers are exhibiting in a temporary structure on the Chelsea Embankment. Sheikh Saud al Thani of Qatar and Charles Saatchi were among 5,175 VIPs at the preview.

Sladmore Gallery sold a bronze of “The Kiss,” cast during Rodin’s lifetime, to a Swiss collector for $2 million. A Middle East client bought a pair of earrings by the Parisian jeweler JAR from Symbolic & Chase for $500,000.

A hand-signed 1895 lithograph of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” -- one of just 26 made -- is being offered by the Oslo- based dealer Kaare Berntsen, priced at 1.7 million pounds. The fair runs through tomorrow.

Pace Space

Pace Gallery is the latest New York contemporary-art dealership to announce that it’s opening a London space to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair in October.

It has commissioned the U.K. architect David Chipperfield to renovate a gallery in 6 Burlington Gardens, part of the Royal Academy of Arts. The space was previously occupied by Christie’s dealership, Haunch of Venison.

Pace joins fellow New York dealers Per Skarstedt, Michael Werner and David Zwirner scheduling to open spaces for Frieze.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include James Russell on architecture and Hephzibah Anderson on books.

To contact the writer on the story: Scott Reyburn in London at sreyburn@hotmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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