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.

Experts back Sotheby’s over attribution on £3m Vermeer

06 April 2004

AFTER more than 10 years of research by a specially convened group of international scholars, Sotheby’s have revealed to the world’s press what they describe as a “newly-acknowledged” work by Johannes Vermeer (1632-75).

A bid of £10,000? Put in on the slate

16 March 2004

“Probably the best sale of this type in a very long time. Very strong across the board,” enthused specialist Roy Bolton after his February 27 auction of Old Master Pictures at Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyers premium).

Christie’s to hold sales again in Spain

01 March 2004

Christie’s are to hold their first auction in Spain since 1999 this autumn when they offer a sale devoted to Spanish paintings in Madrid on October 6. Although they have maintained an office in Madrid, Christie’s last Spanish auction was five years ago when they held the Bendinat House sale in Mallorca.

Bobbing up in Cork, the first view of the first yacht club

26 February 2004

There was high excitement at the Cork rooms of Joseph Woodward & Sons (15% buyer’s premium) on February 11 when what was thought to be the earliest surviving painted view of Cork harbour fetched what is known to be the highest auction price ever paid for a painting in the city.

An unsigned Old Master is £13,000 star of new rooms

13 February 2004

Although it might have been small beer by the standards of the New York Old Master sales reported last week, the presence of a £13,000 Italian still-life painting gave a welcome financial boost to Brightwells’ (15% buyer’s premium) inaugural auction at their new purpose-built Easters Court saleroom on the eastern outskirts of Leominster on January 15.

TEFAF two in battle over a costly courtesan

06 February 2004

IT was not just Sotheby’s and Christie’s who were generating some exceptional prices for Old Masters in New York in the third week of January. The East 87th Street auctioneers Doyle’s (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) generated keen interest from TEFAF Maastricht exhibitors in the room when they included a moody Gottfried Schalken (1643-1706) canvas in their January 21 sale.

Old Masters hold sway over Modern Art as prices remain unstable

02 February 2004

PARIS: A PLETHORA of picture sales in Paris in December yielded some unexpectedly high prices but an erratic overall response, with an average take-up (by lot) of around 60 per cent. Results were stronger for Old Masters than for Modern Art, while the presence of buyers from across Europe helped offset the absence of Americans, deterred by the weak dollar.

The hole in the sale’s heart left by beautiful Mrs Baldwin...

11 December 2003

THE secret of great art is supposed to be not what’s put in, but what’s left out, but unfortunately the same doesn’t apply to art sales. The star lot of Christie’s (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) November 26 auction of Important British & Irish Art was meant to be this impressively decorative Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) portrait, right, of the celebrated exotic Georgian beauty, Mrs Baldwin.

Did an earl help the £16,500 boat come in?

18 September 2003

The artist might have been unknown, the subject unconfirmed, but this unsigned 133/4 x 173/4in (35 x 45cm) Victorian oil, right, of figures on the deck of a yacht was nonetheless the most hotly contested lot at Stride & Son’s (15% buyer’s premium) August 29 sale in Chichester.

Bonhams’ dark horse comes in at £1.75m

24 July 2003

In terms of ‘Old Masters’ in their strictest sense, the July 9 sale sale at Bonhams (19.5/10% buyer’s premium) Knightsbridge might have been conspicuously short of quality, but the presence of this fine George Stubbs (1724-1806) canvas of a dark bay in a landscape. right, gave proceedings a lift when it sold at £1.75m to an American collector represented by London dealer Ray Waterhouse in the room.

Foreign buyers take prizes as pre-Renaissance paintings suffer in swing to high unsold rates

24 July 2003

ON June 17, Finarte-Semenzato held a further sale of furniture and Old Master paintings in Milan, offering almost 540 lots of which less than half sold.

Campbell’s art coming again

30 June 2003

TUCKED away through an archway next to wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd in St James’s Street is Pickering Place, home of Nevil Keating Tollemache – formerly Nevill Keating. Pictures until director Angela Nevill formed a new company with Michael Tollemache, a past chairman of the Society of London Art Dealers and a specialist in Old Master and 19th century paintings.

Master of Disguise

24 June 2003

Coming up in London: Hidden for over 300 years behind the work of a pupil, this image of one of the world’s most celebrated painters at the age of 28 has only recently emerged from beneath layers of overpaint. This newly discovered Rembrandt self-portrait promises to be the highlight of this summer’s auction season in London and will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s on July 10.

Appeal Court ruling protects auctioneer in good faith claim

02 June 2003

A man who had a 17th century Dutch panel painting stolen from his home more than 20 years ago has failed in an Appeal Court to win compensation from Christie’s, who offered the picture for sale in 1997. Key to the test case was Christie’s ability to show they had acted in good faith, adding further legal weight to the importance of due diligence.

Orpen and Turner draw specialists to Essex

14 May 2003

ON the same day as Whyte’s Dublin sale, the Irish theme continued this side of the water at Essex when Sworders (15 per cent buyer’s premium) offered a drawing by Sir William Orpen (1878-1931) at their Stansted Mountfichet rooms on April 29 – a 16 by 14in (40 x 35cm) signed pencil and coloured washes piece entitled The Furniture Painter.

Bidders frustrated as Spanish State pre-empts Goyas

13 May 2003

THERE were suppressed cries of irritation from the public at the May 8 sale held in Madrid by Alcalá Subastas as the Spanish State pre-empted all the important lots of the evening, including two newly-discovered paintings by Goya.

Spanish state expected to buy unknown Goyas

01 April 2003

A rare discovery of two completely unknown paintings by Goya has aroused considerable interest in Madrid. Discovered during a visit to a family in Madrid, the two paintings of Tobias and the Angel and The Holy Family were identified by the picture expert of Alcalá Subastas, Richard de Willermin.

El Greco studies – small is not so beautiful

09 January 2003

In an Old Master week when major-name masterworks were in short supply, the appearance of two of only four known drawings by El Greco (1541-1614) at Bonhams’ (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) December 9 Old Master Drawings sale understandably attracted plenty of attention.

Sales stay low key as collectors hold on to their Old Masters

18 December 2002

A combination of vendors reluctant to consign the best quality goods and cautious bidding from the trade created a fairly low-key atmosphere at London’s traditional pre-Christmas round of Old Master picture sales.

Court hands lost work back to owner despite compensation deal

17 December 2002

It must be the dream insurance policy: compensation for loss and the return of the goods stolen. But for security giant Chubb, it was a claim too far when wealthy art lover Michael Clarke-Jervoise demanded he be handed back a 17th century Dutch masterpiece for which they had earlier paid him £125,000 in compensation.