What a difference a sale makes...

January 29 2015

Image of What a difference a sale makes...

Picture: Sotheby's

...and a good eye, of course. Sotheby's New York today sold two 'sleepers' that had recently been spotted by sharp-eyed dealers in London. The first was the Constable sketch I wrote about here earlier; bought for just £3.5k at Christie's in South Kensington in 2013, it soared triumphantly to $5.25m (inc. premium) earlier today. What a great vindication for close-looking and dedication; a good profit richly deserved.

The other case wasn't quite as well hidden as the Constable, but required calm nerves nonetheless; this El Greco, a very fine picture, sold at Bonhams in 2012 as 'attributed to El Greco' for £790,000. Today it made $2.74m (inc. premium).

Update - sour grapes from Christie's - Bloomberg reports their statement post-sale:

“We are aware that Sotheby’s have sold this work as by Constable,” Christie’s said in an e-mailed statement. “We took the view at the time of our sale in 2013 that it was by a ‘‘follower of.’’ We understand that there is no clear consensus of expertise on the new attribution.” 

From what I understand, that's flat out wrong. Unless I suppose you define 'expertise' so loosely as to include, I dunno, Christie's legal department.

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