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It has been a banner year for Dorotheum, one of Europe’s most prominent auction houses. Auctions across all categories, including fine arts, automobiles, and rare jewels fetched high prices and broke records, catapulting Dorotheum into the forefront of the auction world.
This year, vintage automobiles featured a 95 percent sales rate within the category, with a 1963 Shelby Cobra Mk. I selling for €1,012,000 (about $1.1 million). This iconic piece was the highest-selling car of the season, with a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupé and a 1974 blue Lancia Stratos HF coming in close behind at €572,000 and €379,500, respectively ($620,200 and $411,500).
These historic auctions will surely set the tone for further advances by Dorotheum in this exciting category during the year to come. Other unique success stories from 2015 include the sales of a single-owner collection entitled “Bicycles From the Embacher Collection” in May, and the most-expensive-written document ever sold by the house, an eleventh-century autograph known as “Rituals,” which sold for €356,800 ($386,900) in June. An Otto Prutscher piece, “Cupboard on Table,” sold for €244,414 ($265,000)—more than six times the estimated price—at a design auction in May.
While Dorotheum made countless strides in a wide variety of categories this year, the fine arts categories remained at the center of the house’s auctions. It proved to be an exceptional year for old master paintings, with offerings by Jan Brueghel, Pieter Brueghel II, Giovan Batista Salvi, and Frans Pourbus II all selling for well over €300,000 ($325,600). A 19th-century painting by Polish painter Jan Matejko also fetched more than three times its original estimate, selling for €344,600 ($373,600).
The real star category of the year, though, was Italian and German avant-garde work. The perennially popular Gerhard Richter saw two of his works, Green-Blue-Red and Abstract, sell for prices well above €350,000 ($379,600). An untitled box with nails and cut-outs by ZERO group artist Günther Uecker sold for €295,800 ($320,700).
Enrico Castellani’s Superficie (“Surface”) broke international records, coming it at €965,000 ($1.06 million), the highest price ever paid for a work from Castellani’s early period. Mauro Staccioli’s sculpture, Ellisse, which sold for €204,300 ($221,500), also achieved a new artist record.
After this year of record-setting auctions across categories, the coming season at Dorotheum will be one to watch. Collectors looking to add variety, depth, and prestige to their collections should turn to Dorotheum in 2016.
Below, a video produced by Dorotheum about its 2015 highlights.