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‘Art of the Enlightenment’ Adds $13M to Sotheby’s Total

Sotheby’s “Art of the Enlightenment” auction, on Jan. 27, focused mainly on 18th-century artists, including Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and added a solid $13 million to Sotheby’s auction totals for the week.

NEW YORK—Sotheby’s “Art of the Enlightenment” auction, on Jan. 27, focused mainly on 18th-century artists, including Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and added a solid $13 million to Sotheby’s auction totals for the week.

In addition to strong prices achieved by the two Franz Xaver Messerschmidt sculptures, which together brought $7.3 million (see story on page 1), the top prices included $2.2 million for Portrait of the Duchess of Montebello with Her Children, by François Pascal Simon Gerard, also known as Baron Gerard (1770-1837). The final price fell just under the $2.4/2.8 million estimate. A portrait of Benjamin Franklin, by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis Carpentras (1725-1802), fetched $576,000 against an estimate of $300,000/400,000.

In total, 55, or 71.4 percent, of 77 works on offer found buyers. The sale was 82.1 percent sold by value. Many of the top-selling works stayed within estimate; among the exceptions were Antionio Canova in His Studio, attributed to the Roman School, late 18th century, and listed as property from the collection of Mrs. Marella Agnelli. Estimated at $40,000/60,000, the work realized $262,400. A painting, The Return of the Fisherman in a Coastal Landscape, by Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-89), fetched $216,000 against an estimated $60,000/80,000.

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