December 11, Sotheby’s offered up a small sale of 19th-century European paintings. As we have seen in the past, sometimes the difference between success and failure comes down to a few fresh-to-the-market works.
Taking the lead here was Norwegian artist Harald Sohlberg’s Modne Jorder (Ripe Fields) which had been in the same family’s collection since the 1950s. The painting carried a £1-1.5M estimate and sold (with the buyer’s premium – w/p) for £2.36M. Coming in a distant second was Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Lake Ruovesi in Winter at £350K (est. £60-80K) … this work has also been in the same family’s collection since it was originally purchased from the artist circa 1916. Close behind was Gérôme’s Femmes au bain that brought £325K w/p on a £400-600K estimate — so it fell short.
Rounding out the top five were Zandomeneghi’s Fille attachant un ruban at £225K w/p (est. £60-80K — this work had not been on the market since 1900 – very fresh), and then we had a tie at £213K w/p – Giulio Rosati’s The Favourite (est. £100-150K) and Gaetano Previati’s The Kiss (est. £100-150K – last on the market in 1990). On the other side, there was just one big miss – Gérôme’s Jeune fille du Caire (est. £500-700K).
There were 47 works offered, 31 sold (66%), and the total take was £4.94M w/p … the low end of their presale estimate range was £3.52M (which does not include the buyer’s premium). Of the 47 works, 10 sold below, 14 within, 7 above their estimate range … plus 16 failed to find buyers. This left them with an accuracy rate of 29.8%, which is better than most.