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.


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Pick of the week: Small Old Master packs a Canaletto price punch

04 October 2021

A Venetian painting attributed to the great Canaletto (1697-1798) was offered at Gorringe’s (23% buyer’s premium) latest auction, selling for £300,000.

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Bruges museum buys Old Master portrait at the ‘last’ TEFAF Online

04 October 2021

Over six days, collectors and institutions gathered virtually for TEFAF Online 2021 to peruse the high-end offerings of more than 250 international galleries.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Punchinello

Tiepolo drawing emerges from safe at Sitwell family home ahead of Dreweatts' auction

27 September 2021

A drawing from Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s (1696-1770) Punchinello series is among the highlights of the contents of Weston Hall in Northamptonshire.

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Showing caution over ‘El Greco’

27 September 2021

Experts split over El Greco attribution but Holy Family painting offered in Germany gets away

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Brueghel’s ‘own view’ of everyday Dutch rural life

27 September 2021

Numerous international bidders set their sights on a tondo by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638).

Jonathan Swift

Swift decision: portrait will remain in Ireland

20 September 2021

A portrait of Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift that has hung at Howth Castle since 1735 sold for €234,000 (£200,000) this month.

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Dealer spots “dirty and unattributed” portrait and sells it back to historic mansion

20 September 2021

This recently discovered 18th century portrait was painted by John Vanderbank (1694-1739) and depicts Holles St John of Lydiard Park.

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‘Monuments Man’ Croft-Murray’s expert eye highlighted at Woolley & Wallis

20 September 2021

Works from the collection of Edward Croft-Murray (1907-80), former keeper of prints and drawings at the British Museum, provided plenty of sale highlights.

Richard Parkes Bonington view of venice

Sotheby’s to auction works from late art dealer Richard Feigen’s collection

17 September 2021

Sotheby’s is staging a dedicated sale of 55 works from the collection of the late New York art dealer Richard L Feigen (1930-2021).

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Rare example of an 'enconchado' painting makes 30-times estimate at Surrey auction

06 September 2021

An intriguing variation on an Old Master sparked a strong competition at Parker Fine Art (25% buyer’s premium) earlier this summer.

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The restoration motivation: Rising interest in works that appeal despite condition issues

06 September 2021

Although condition remains a pivotal factor in the Old Master market, a number of lots sold recently in the UK regions suggest increasing interest for works that represent a promising restoration project.

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Small oil now believed to be original 17th century Flemish School painting

30 August 2021

A small oil painting discovered among the contents of a Leamington Spa property sold for many multiples of its estimate at Kinghams (23% buyer’s premium).

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Portrait of George Washington in pastel form emerges at Cotswolds auction

30 August 2021

The Cotswold Auction Company will offer a small lifetime portrait of the first American president as part of a pictures sale on October 19.

Bartolomé González y Serrano portrait

Texas museum buys courtly Spanish portrait at Christie’s

24 August 2021

The Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas has announced that it was the buyer of a Spanish Baroque Old Master at a Christie’s auction last year.

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‘Canaletto’ Venetian scene surfaces in Lewes

16 August 2021

A painting of Venice’s Dogana da Mar painted from the Bacino di San Marco which has been attributed to Canaletto (1697-1768) will be offered at Gorringe’s of Lewes in the autumn.

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Pick of the week: National Library of Wales joins contest for John Dyer archive

16 August 2021

The National Library of Wales was among the successful bidders when an archive relating to the poet and painter John Dyer (1699-1757) emerged for sale in Yorkshire this month.

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El Divino painting draws international bidders and sells 60-times over estimate in Stuttgart sale

09 August 2021

Nagel (25% buyer’s premium) in Stuttgart underestimated the international interest for a 16th century painting of Christ Carrying the Cross.

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Art Market: Are Old Masters suffering from long Covid?

09 August 2021

After a difficult period because of the pandemic, the latest round of Old Master sales in London returned to some kind of normality.

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Portrait of a Grand Tourist turns heads at Bonhams

09 August 2021

A Grand Tour portrait that came to auction directly from the family of the sitter was among the most contested lots at Bonhams’ (27.5%/25/20/14.5% buyer’s premium) Old Master Paintings sale on July 7.

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Hoffmann hare inspired by Dürer leaps to £1.02m

09 August 2021

While Christie’s had by far the top-selling Old Master drawing of the latest series (the £7.5m Leonardo da Vinci drawing of the head of a bear - see ATG No 2501), a good number of other works on paper generated better competition although sold for understandably lower prices.

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