El Greco - Saint Dominic in prayer

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (1541–1614)
Saint Dominic in prayer
Estimate: £3,000,000 - £5,000,000 ($4,580,000 - $7,640,000)
Sold for £9,154,500 ($13,983,650)

Canaletto - The Molo, Venice, from the Bacino di San Marco

Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768)
The Molo, Venice, from the Bacino di San Marco
Estimate: £4,000,000 - £6,000,000 ($6,084,000 - $9,126,000)
Sold for £8,461,875 ($12,870,512)

El Greco and Canaletto lead old masters auctions

El Greco's 'Saint Dominic in prayer' was the star at Sotheby's £35m / $53.1m / €41.3m auction in London, while Canaletto's 'El Molo, Venice' outshined Poussin and Steen at Christie's London.

July 3, 2013, source: Sotheby's / Christie's

Old masters at Christie's, July 2nd 2013

The auction did not start well at Christie's. The top lot of the sale, Jan Steen's large and important "Easy Come, Easy Go': the artist eating oysters in an interior" -estimated at £7-10 million ($10,65-$15,2 million)- failed to find a buyer. The painting has been in the collection of the Earl of Lonsdale for 250 years. Also, Nicolas Poussin's striking "Hannibal crossing the Alps on an Elephant" also failed to sell. Christie's stated in the catalogue that "no live elephant is known to have been available for study in Rome at the time Poussin is thought to have made his painting".

However, Canaletto's "The Molo, Venice, from the Bacino di San Marco" smashed its pre-sale estimate of £4-6 million, selling for £8,461,875 ($12,870,512). The catalogue explains that this view "shows the key buildings at the heart of Venice in a slightly diagonal perspective." A "Head of a bearded man in profile holding a bronze figure" by Peter Paul Rubens fetched £1,741,875 ($2,649,392).

Earlier, the Old Master & British Drawings & Watercolours auction was highlighted by Francisco de Goya's "Si yerras los tiros! (If you miss the mark!)", which sold for £1,517,875($2,308,688), slightly over its high estimate.

Old masters at Sotheby's, July 3rd 2013

The top lot at Sotheby's was El Greco's "Saint Dominic in prayer", which fetched an impressive £9,154,500 ($13,983,650), setting a new world auction record for the artist, and -according to Sotheby's- a record for a Spanish Old Master painting. Described by the auction house as "one of the finest and most characteristic examples of El Greco’s art to be offered for sale for more than a decade", the work carried an estimate of £3-5 million. An equally impressive "Christ on the Cross" sold for a bargainly £3,442,500. The work came from the collection of the Zuloaga Museum.

Claude-Joseph Vernet’s large and pleasant "A view of Avignon, from the right bank of the Rhône near Villeneuve" sold for £5,346,500, also an auction record for the artist and the second highest price of the auction. A series of six frescoes by Giandomenico Tiepolo fetched £3,218,500, a modest price considering the importance of the works.

The day before, Sotheby's hosted its "European Sculpture & Works of Art: Medieval to Modern" auction, which included an important triptych by the Master of the Amiens Triptych (French, c.1310-20). Coming from the Gustav Rau collection, the work sold for £2,770,500

Related content

January 2013 Old Masters auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's

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