Recession? What recession?

March 15 2011

Image of Recession? What recession?

Picture: Cleveland Museum of Art

Hats off to the Cleveland Museum of Art for a really impressive piece of acquisitioning; they've just bought the above cabinet miniature by Isaac Oliver. Possibly painted for Anne of Denmark, it is one of very few large scale miniatures by Oliver to survive. 

It's not only a good buy, but a canny one. The picture was offered at Sotheby's in New York in January with an estimate of $200 - 300,000, which I felt was too high. However, it failed to sell, and presumably the museum were able to secure it for a good price post-sale. [More below]

No matter what Cleveland paid for it, the value today is probably a bargain compared to its original price. Cabinet miniatures were highly prized in the seventeenth century; in the sale of Charles I's collection in 1649 similar miniatures by Isaac Oliver's son, Peter, sold for the enormous sum of £50 each. By comparison, a Holbein sold for £30 and a Corregio for £40.

See Cleveland's other new acquisitions here. See their admirably comprehensive way of enlisting donations and supporters (no state funding) here.

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