The Caravaggesque still-life of fruit carried an asking price of €5m on the stand of London dealer Colnaghi and was bought by a private European foundation. Colnaghi said the painting had not been seen in public for over a century and came from a family collection.
Other early sales for UK exhibitors included an Edwardian diamond encrusted tiara, with a provenance to Princess Diana’s Spencer family, priced at £185,000 by Hancocks, and a Qianlong period Beijing enamel on copper footed cup, cover and stand ticketed at a substantial six-figure sum by Cohen & Cohen.
Meanwhile, the March 10-19 fair began in more controversial style for Milan exhibitor Piva & Co. During the vetting procedure it was decided the monumental Persepoli by the contemporary artist Luca Pignatelli was unsuitable for display. The 2016 mixed-media work, painting a classical head over an original Persian rug, was deemed “too provocative, since it destroys an antique oeuvre through the use of contemporary art”.