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Selective Bidding Marks Christie’s 19th-Century European Art Sale

Christie’s sale of 19th-century European art on April 8 brought $5.4 million and was just under 70 percent sold by both lot and value.

NEW YORK—Christie’s sale of 19th-century European art on April 8 brought $5.4 million and was just under 70 percent sold by both lot and value. Of 124 lots on offer, 86 found buyers.

The top lot was Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s Un port de mer en Bretagne, a circa 1850 oil on panel that brought a within-estimate price of $457,000 (estimate: $300,000/500,000) from a U.S. dealer. Another work by Corot, La petit séraphine vêtue du gilet de Corot, 1871, sold below expectations for $169,000 (estimate: $180,000/220,000).

The second-highest price of the sale was for Ippolito Caffi’s San Pietro, Roma, which fetched $337,000 (estimate: $150,000/250,000).

Deborah Coy, head of Christie’s 19th-century European paintings department, points out that “buyers responded extremely well to a sale sourced almost exclusively from private collections. Among the more traditional collecting categories, the Italian painters performed well.”

However, demand was selective, even for the sale’s higher-priced works. While William Adolphe Bougereau’s Italien à la mandoline, 1870, exceeded the $150,000/250,000 estimate with a final price of $265,000, Giovanni Battista Torriglia’s oil First Steps brought $217,000, well below the low $250,000 estimate.

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