This was achieved on October 23 for Osman Hamdi Bey’s (1842-1910) Portrait of a Turkish Lady from Constantinople from 1881 (pictured above and previewed in ATG No 2412). The 3ft 11in x 2ft (1.2m x 60cm) canvas was one of only a handful of paintings by the artist that have come onto to the market in recent decades.
An anonymous phone bidder saw off the limited competition to secure the painting for a lower-estimate €1.5m (£1.3m).
Causing a stir
The result for the star lot in the Old Master sale on the previous day caused much more of a stir, however. This was a previously unknown painting Madonna and Child attributed to an Associate of Raffaello Sanzi, called Raphael.
Dorotheum put a lot of effort into marketing the 22 x 17in (57 x 42cm) panel, preparing a detailed dossier and sending it on its travels to London and Brussels.
The painting was only recently discovered in the collection of a descendant of Adèle d’Affry (1836-79), Duchess of Castiglione Colonna. She was a Swiss artist, an accomplished painter, who worked under the pseudonym Marcello.
An interesting aspect of the provenance was provided by a painting titled Young Lady in a Salon, executed by Marcello. On the left of this motif the ‘Raphael’ can be seen, hanging in the same frame that still housed it at the Vienna sale.
Scientific and stylistic research underlined the proximity of the painting to Raphael, without providing final proof whether he actively participated in the execution or only supervised it.
For this reason, the house experts catalogued it as ‘Associate’ of Raffaelo Sanzio, called Raphael, and put a modest valuation of €300,000-400,000. This proved to be too cautious as the ensuing bidding showed: the final bid, placed by another anonymous phone bidder, was €1.27m (£1.1m).