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The statue was part of a group of pieces that were restituted property returned to the heirs of Gustav and Clara Stein Kirstein through the Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress. In March this year, a group of Klinger’s drawings from the same source proved sought after in the same rooms producing some substantial prices. Klinger is indeed better known for his graphic works than his sculpture, with the notable exception of his polychrome Beethoven Monument in the Leipzig Museum, but in the case of the Galatea its very rarity was one of its main attractions, for the piece is a unique cast in silver produced by the Noack and Bruckner foundry in Leipzig.

Moreover, Sotheby’s estimate was hardly bullish at just £8000-12,000. The auctioneers admitted afterwards this was modest and that the considerable pre-sale interest meant it was very likely to make considerably more, although they were still surprised by the final price.

There was plenty of competition up to £100,000, after which point the battle for the statue was fought out in the room between two contestants: US dealer French and Co and the successful purchaser, a private collector.