£1 = $1.26
1. Rubens’ Rider
Leading the week of Old Master auctions in New York was this study of a horse with a rider by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). It was previously attributed to a follower of Sir Anthony Van Dyck but, after having some overpaint and later additions removed, it was recently re-ascribed to Rubens. Estimated at $1m-1.5m at Sotheby’s Old Master evening sale in New York on January 25, it was knocked down at $4.3m (£3.41m).
2. Scipio’s Arrival
This drawing depicting the great Roman general Scipio Africanus being welcomed outside the gates of Rome, also by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), relates closely to a tapestry composition by Giulio Romano (1499-1546). Executed in black chalk, pen and ink, brown wash, touches of bodycolour and heightened in oil, it was estimated at $500,000-700,000 and sold at $1.3m (£1.03m). It led Christie’s Old Master Drawings sale in New York on January 24.
3. Titian’s Woodcut
Despite moving their main Old Master sales in New York to April this year, Christie’s staged two sales dedicated to prints and drawings. The top lot of their prints sale on January 25 was this monumental woodcut, catalogued as ‘after Titian (c.1488-1576)’. Depicting the biblical scene of the submersion of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea, it was printed from 12 blocks on a dozen joined sheets of laid paper and measured 7ft 3in (2.22m) across. It sold for $620,000 (£477,000) against an estimate of $200,000-300,000.
4. De Coster’s Candlelit Portrait
One of the works drawing strong competition at Sotheby’s Master Paintings and Sculpture evening sale was this atmospheric portrait of a young woman by the Flemish painter Adam de Coster (1585/6-1643). Estimated at $1.5m-2m, it was knocked down at $4.1m (£3.25m), surpassing the record for the artist which was held by the same painting when it sold at Sotheby’s back in 1992.
5. Goya’s Huntsman
This drawing of a hunter with his dog was one of the group of sketches by Goya (1746-1828) from one of the Spanish artist’s ‘private’ albums dated to c.1815-20. A keen hunter himself, Goya produced at least 10 drawings relating to the subject in the sketchbook and this example was billed as “among the most elaborate” in Christie’s catalogue. Estimated at $600,000-800,000, it was knocked down at $920,000 (£730,160) at Christie’s drawings sale.
6. 'El Greco’s' Saint Veronica
Catalogued as ‘attributed to El Greco (1541-1614)’, this painting of ‘Saint Veronica Holding the Veil’ sold at $550,000 (£436,510) to an American collector at Sotheby’s Master Paintings evening sale. Estimated at $400,000-600,000, the subject relates to Saint Veronica, who wiped the sweat and blood from Christ’s face with her veil on the road to Calvary, and then miraculously found the image of his face imprinted on the cloth.
7. ‘Botticelli's’ Madonna and Child
This Madonna and Child with Saint John The Baptist and an Angel was another lot offered at Sotheby’s evening sale. The tempera on panel tondo, which was catalogued as ‘Botticelli and Studio’ and estimated at $600,000-800,000, was knocked down at $650,000 (515,875) to a European collector.