A rare print inclusion to Christie’s evening sale was Rembrandt Van Rijn’s (1606-69) Christ presented to the people (‘Ecce Homo’).
Executed entirely in drypoint in 1655, Rembrandt’s third decade as a printmaker, the 15 x 17in (38 x 45 cm) work is one of the largest prints by the artist in existence. It came from the collection of the late Samuel Josefowitz, a well-known Old Master print aficionado, and was the last example of the first state impression known in private hands.
With an ‘estimate on request’ thought to be in the region of £2.2m-3.8m, it sold to a phone bidder for £2.2m.
At Sotheby’s, a sumptuously well-preserved watercolour by JMW Turner (1775-1851) took £1.7m against a £1.2m-1.8m guide to a private buyer (pictured in ATG No 2350). The panorama depicts Lake Lucerne in Switzerland and was inspired by Turner’s travels to the region in 1841-44.
“Major watercolours from Turner’s late Swiss period are justifiably held in the highest regard and this was the most important work to have appeared on the market in more than a decade,” said Mark Griffith-Jones, specialist, British watercolours, drawings and portrait miniatures at Sotheby’s.
It was commissioned by Elhanan Bicknell as a companion piece for Blue Rigi, which sold at Christie’s in 2006 for £5.2m – a record for a Turner watercolour.