Christie's £10.41m vs. Sotheby's £18.86m

December 10 2021

Image of Christie's £10.41m vs. Sotheby's £18.86m

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This week saw the major Old Master Paintings sales in London.

Christie's Evening Sale on Tuesday realised £10.41m (all figures inc. commission) with roughly 70.22% of lots sold.*

The two lots that soared away in the Christie's sale were Peter Brueghel the Younger's Massacre of the Innocents which realised £2,422,500 (all amounts inc. commission) over its £1m - £1.5m estimate and a Florentine School c.1500 tondo (pictured) which made £500,000 over its £80k - £120k estimate.

Sotheby's Evening Sale on Wednesday realised £18.86m with roughly 81.82% of lots sold.**

Van Dyck's two portraits of Jacob de Witte and Maria Nutius managed to hit the top end of their estimate by achieving £6,172,800 over their £4m - £6m estimate. Quite a few of the Sotheby's pictures that sold managed to break through their high estimates, including Rubens's The Abduction of Ganymede which realised 716,800 over its £300k - £400k estimate; Turner's Cilgerran Castle which realised £1,043,500 over its £300k - £500k estimate; A marine by Constable which realised £813,600 over its £200k - £300k estimate and one of a pair of Boucher and Studio scenes which realised £195,300 over its £60k - £80k estimate.

The standout picture of the day sale, the aforementioned Portrait of an Old Man 'Attributed to Frans Hals', smashed through its estimate of £80k - £120k to realise £1,951,000.

Perhaps the most disappointing results were the two major Constables of Salisbury Cathedral and the rediscovered Glebe Farm that failed to find buyers. This was despite the large amount of press both pictures received in the press.

The Art Newspaper run a piece on the sales with the title that 'There are too many auctions and not enough collectors.' The articles places the blame on sluggish sales on the lack of supply of good pictures, the rising infection rate and the difficulties encountered due to Britain leaving the EU.

* - This amount is calculated by missing lot numbers.

 ** - This % does not include 3 missing lot numbers.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.