Old Masters

Traditionally this sector is defined as works by master painters working in Europe from before 1800. It includes Renaissance artists and Dutch Golden Age painters for example. Today Old Master auctions in London and New York will include works by British artists as well as some 19th century works.


Orpen and Turner draw specialists to Essex

14 May 2003

ON the same day as Whyte’s Dublin sale, the Irish theme continued this side of the water at Essex when Sworders (15 per cent buyer’s premium) offered a drawing by Sir William Orpen (1878-1931) at their Stansted Mountfichet rooms on April 29 – a 16 by 14in (40 x 35cm) signed pencil and coloured washes piece entitled The Furniture Painter.

Bidders frustrated as Spanish State pre-empts Goyas

13 May 2003

THERE were suppressed cries of irritation from the public at the May 8 sale held in Madrid by Alcalá Subastas as the Spanish State pre-empted all the important lots of the evening, including two newly-discovered paintings by Goya.

Spanish state expected to buy unknown Goyas

01 April 2003

A rare discovery of two completely unknown paintings by Goya has aroused considerable interest in Madrid. Discovered during a visit to a family in Madrid, the two paintings of Tobias and the Angel and The Holy Family were identified by the picture expert of Alcalá Subastas, Richard de Willermin.

El Greco studies – small is not so beautiful

09 January 2003

In an Old Master week when major-name masterworks were in short supply, the appearance of two of only four known drawings by El Greco (1541-1614) at Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) December 9 Old Master Drawings sale understandably attracted plenty of attention.

Sales stay low key as collectors hold on to their Old Masters

18 December 2002

A combination of vendors reluctant to consign the best quality goods and cautious bidding from the trade created a fairly low-key atmosphere at London’s traditional pre-Christmas round of Old Master picture sales.

Court hands lost work back to owner despite compensation deal

17 December 2002

It must be the dream insurance policy: compensation for loss and the return of the goods stolen. But for security giant Chubb, it was a claim too far when wealthy art lover Michael Clarke-Jervoise demanded he be handed back a 17th century Dutch masterpiece for which they had earlier paid him £125,000 in compensation.

Thomas Gainsborough: A Country Life

11 December 2002

Thomas Gainsborough: A Country Life, by Hugh Belsey, published by Prestel. ISBN 379132784 £14.95hb

Rubens will go on public display

06 December 2002

Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents is to go on public display at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Lord Thomson of Fleet, who set a record for an Old Master painting at auction when he paid £45m for the work at Sotheby’s in London in July, announced that the painting would join nearly 2000 other works in his collection at the gallery after it completes a $315m renovation and expansion.

Agnews case settled out of court

19 November 2002

The claim against London art dealers Agnews over a painting formerly attributed to Constable has been settled out of court. Sir Simon Day launched the claim over a series of free valuations carried out on the painting – Hampstead Heath: Branch Hill Pond – from 1975 until the late 1990s.

Irish collection falls victim to theft again

07 October 2002

A set of paintings, including two by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, have been stolen from a country house in Ireland that has now been targeted four times by thieves, police said.

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Rubens masterpiece joins the world record holders at £45m

17 July 2002

History was made at Sotheby’s July 10 Old Master Paintings sale when Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ long-lost masterpiece, The Massacre of the Innocents, sold in the room to the Mayfair-based book dealer Sam Fogg for £45m, the highest auction price ever achieved for a work of art in the UK.

Coming Up in London

28 May 2002

THIS unrecorded portrait by John Constable, estimated to make up to £80,000, was discovered by East Anglian auctioneer and fine art broker John Vost during a routine valuation at a house on the Suffolk/Norfolk border.

Ashmolean wins Rubens oil sketch

14 May 2002

THE Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has just acquired an important oil sketch by Sir Peter Paul Rubens thanks to grants from the National Arts Collection Fund and the Resource V&A Purchase Fund.

Cityscapes play to home advantage

24 April 2002

Keen to maximise international interest, Christie’s sold the major portion of Dr Anton C.R. Dreesmann’s Old Master pictures in London on April 11.

St Francis fires up Continental trade

07 March 2002

THE relative strength of Old Master paintings in comparison to other sectors of the market has been noted at a number of recent auctions, but this new-found strength, it seems, is not just restricted to top-end sales in London and New York.

Lost Rubens could make as much as £20m

04 March 2002

Sotheby’s July 11 Old Master sale will include the re-discovered Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) oil on panel The Massacre of the Innocents, pictured right.

Il Parmigianino on a jpg

07 February 2002

Last summer Christie’s Old Master drawings expert Nicolas Schwed was sitting at his desk in Paris checking through his e-mails when he came across this 460-year-old face staring back at him from his computer screen.

Agnew’s fight £1.5m claim over Van Dyck attribution

05 February 2002

MAYFAIR art dealers Agnew’s are hotly contesting claims for a £1.5m refund over an Old Master which is at the centre of a dispute over who painted it.

£7m sales round off a bonne année

23 January 2002

PARIS: A prestige series of auctions held by Tajan at the Hôtel George V just before Christmas (December 17-19) yielded just under £7m hammer.

Old Masters

16 January 2002

The Tower of Babel was a popular subject with Flemish artists, and with the Louvain-born Lucas van Valkenborch (c.1530-97) in particular. He painted at least four versions, to be found in Munich, Mainz, the Louvre, and in the Beaussant-Lefèvre saleroom at Drouot on December 14, when an oil on panel Tower dated 1587, 28 x 35in (71 x 90cm), spiralled six times over estimate to Fr8.2m (£781,000), establishing an auction record for the artist.

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