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Sotheby’s London: 19th Century European

December 13, 2017


Today we had Sotheby’s sale of 19th century works of art.  While this sale covers the same period of art we see in the New York sales, they usually contain a slightly different mix of works – more Spanish, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch and Greek … than we see in the US.

Taking the top spot here was Sorolla’s Stormy Afternoon at £525K ($700K – est. £500-700K).  In second was Gustave Moreau’s Hélène which made £513K ($684K – est. £350-500K) and in third was Hammershoi’s Woman Before a Mirror, Strandgade 30 (a far cry from the one that sold in NY) that sold for £465K ($620K – est. £400-600K).  Rounding out the top 5 were Corot’s Paysage Breton at £453K ($604K – est. £300-500K) and Boldini’s tiny (12 x 9 inch) Les Parisiennes which made an impressive £393K ($524K – est. £150-200K).


There were a few other strong finishers: Corot’s (c.1870) Marcoussis, Route a Travers les Champs made £297K ($398K – est. £200-300K); Hammershoi’s study titled White Doors, Strandgade 25 brought £249K ($332K – est. £200-300K); Jakobides’ The Ravenous One brought £206K ($275K – est. £100-150K) and Nikolaos Gyzis’s Up to Mischief sold for £50K ($67K – est. £15-20K).  On the flip side, Courbet’s La Dormeuse (est. £200-300K) was withdrawn and works by Jarnefelt (£100-200K), Schjerfbeck (£150-200K) and Josephson (£400-600K) failed to find buyers.


By the end of the short session, of the 74 works offered, 54 sold (73%) and the total take was £5.5M (low end of the estimate range was £4.974M – so they made it with the buyer’s commissions added in).  Looking through the sale we find that 18 sold below, 20 within and 16 above their estimate range. Adding in the unsold works we arrive at an accuracy rate of 27% — a little stronger than some of the other sales we have seen.

Tomorrow they will present their Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist sale.  Guess we will see what happens.