El Greco soars above estimate

December 5 2012

Image of El Greco soars above estimate

Picture: Bonhams

The soaraway price of the week so far is the £790k (with premium) realised by the above Saint Peter catalogued as 'Attributed to El Greco' at Bonhams. The picture was estimated at £40-£60,000. I'm no El Greco expert, but even to me it looked to be so well painted that it surely must be 'right', as we say in the trade. 

The picture had recently been surface-cleaned, but was consigned in a generally unrestored state. In other words, it was a perfect trade picture, which could be taken onto the next level if the attribution is firmed up, and the picture restores well. The price is a reminder to the auction houses, in this week of (so far) high unsold levels, of how much the trade underpins Old Master auctions. 

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