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Polish Works ‘Particularly Buoyant’ At 19th-Century Art Auction

Sotheby’s four-part sale of 19th-century paintings, held in London on June 14, earned £7.7 million ($13.9 million) in total for auctions that included German, Austrian, Hungarian and Slavic art (£2.1 million, or $3.8 million), and Scandinavian art (£2.7 million, or $4.9 million), among other genres. “Interest in the sale was strong throughout. Competitive bidding was seen

NEW YORK—Sotheby’s four-part sale of 19th-century paintings, held in London on June 14, earned £7.7 million ($13.9 million) in total for auctions that included German, Austrian, Hungarian and Slavic art (£2.1 million, or $3.8 million), and Scandinavian art (£2.7 million, or $4.9 million), among other genres.

“Interest in the sale was strong throughout. Competitive bidding was seen for works in the specialist sales as well as for works by artists with traditionally wider international appeal,” report Sotheby’s experts in charge of the sale, Mark Poltimore and Adrian Biddell.

Fetching the top price was Polish artist Hendrik Siemiradski’s The Tight Rope Walker’s Audience, which was acquired by Auroro Fine Art Investment, according to Sotheby’s, for £523,200 ($941,760), comfortably above the £350,000 high estimate. Jean Léon Gérôme’s Bathsabee was sold to a U.S. buyer for £456,000, or $820,000 (estimate: £400,000/600,000).

An artist’s record was set for Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershoi when Woman in an Interior realized £388,800, or $699,840 (estimate: £180,000/250,000). Also an artist’s record was the £220,800 ($397,440) paid for Paul Fischer’s The Royal Danish Ballet School (estimate: £200,000/250,000).

“Interest in the Danish works was especially strong, resulting in two new world-record prices. All four Nordic countries were represented by a clutch of works of museum quality that generated intense bidding from private buyers,” note Poltimore and Biddell.

Setting a record in the German, Austrian, Hungarian and Slavic sale was Paul Friedrich Meyerheim’s Der Kesselflicker, which went for £62,400, or $112,320 (estimate: £30,000/50,000). Observe specialists Claude Piening and Tessa Kostrzewa, who headed the sale: “There were good prices across the board, and the Polish market proved particularly buoyant.” They cite “strong competition for the Siemiradski—the price achieved ranks as the second-highest price ever paid at auction for a work by the artist.”

A private collector paid £102,000 ($183,600) for Mihály Munkácsy’s The Lazy Apprentice, well above the £60,000 high estimate. Of 285 lots on offer, 67 percent, or 192, found buyers.

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