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Old Masters Bring $10 Million at Christie’s

Christie’s sale of Old Master paintings on Oct. 17 realized $10.2 million and was 84 percent sold by value. Of 178 lots offered, 71 percent, or 126, found buyers.

NEW YORK—Christie’s sale of Old Master paintings on Oct. 17 realized $10.2 million and was 84 percent sold by value. Of 178 lots offered, 71 percent, or 126, found buyers.

The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., acquired the sale’s top lot, An interior with two ladies and a gentleman, 1776, by Louis–Rolland Trinquesse (1745-circa 1800). The final price was $968,000 (estimate: $500,000/700,000). According to Christie’s, Trinquesse was known for his portraits and genre scenes that drew on the tradition of tableau de mode.

The work came with a prestigious provenance, having been included in exhibitions at such institutions as the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Eric M. Zafran, Hilles Curator of European Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum, said he had been “fascinated” with the painting for decades, citing the artist’s “technical brilliance, psychological insight and humorous theatricality.”

The Madonna of the Cherries, attributed to Quinten Massys (1466-1530), took the second-highest price, fetching $744,000 from a U.S. buyer, well above the estimate of $150,000/200,000.

British dealers figured prominently among buyers of the top lots, including two paintings by Jean-François de Troy (1679-1752): Venus and Adonis, which brought $318,400 (estimate: $150,000/200,000); and Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, which earned $296,000 (estimate: $150,000/200,000).

Elsewhere strong prices were achieved for Figures in a winter landscape with castle beyond, attributed to the Circle of Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634), which took $262,400 against an estimated $60,000/80,000; and A fireworks display over Saint Mark’s Square, Venice, 1877, by Francesco Zanin (active 1860-1880), which also made $262,400 (estimate: $70,000/100,000).

Christie’s Old Master specialists Nicholas Hall and Richard Knight note that the sale was “well-supported throughout by European private and trade buyers.”

Last November Christie’s announced it would move its primary Old Master sale, typically held in January, to April in order to bring Old Masters “in line with the other Christie’s International painting departments in its strategy of putting a reasonable space of time between sales.” Sotheby’s said its next New York sale of Old Masters will be held this coming January.

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