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Christie’s 19th-Century: Part II

October 23, 2020
two women

Francois-Joseph Navez

On the 16th, Christie’s presented Part II of their 19th-century works, and it was a continuation of a difficult situation — lack of good quality material.

colorful flowers in a vase

Hendrik Reekers

Taking the top spot was Francois-Joseph Navez’s Two Italians. The painting was estimated to bring $40-60K and sold for $100K ($125K w/p) … this seller was one of the happier ones. Hendrik Reekers’ Still Life with Summer Flowers took second at $70K ($87.5K w/p – estimate $80-120K), and a collaborative work between Corot and Jules-Antoine Demeur, Arleux-du-Nord⁠⁠—le bord des clairs, took third place at $60k ($75k W/P – est. $40-60K).  Rounding out the top five were a small, sketchy, Corot – La Rochelle – un coin de la cour de la – that brought $48K ($60K w/p – est. $60-80K), and in fifth, there was a tie between two sculptures: A Batacchi’s Innocence Tormented by Love and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s Aurora were each expected to bring between $30-50K and hammered at $42K (52.5K w/p).

french landscape with boat

Corot and Demeur

Only three works in this sale achieved prices above their estimate range, the Navez mentioned earlier, as well as a tiny (6.25 x 8.625 inch) Sanchez-Perrier landscape, A Midday’s Rest, at $20K ($25K w/p – est. $8-12K), and Jozef Israels’s Mending the Nets at $30K ($37.5K w/p – est. $15-20K).  On the other side of the coin, many works did not find buyers (I know that condition issues and high estimates were the main stumbling blocks). Among them were a small Lhermitte (est. $80-120K), a Paolo Sala (est. $80-120K), an Elsley (est. $100-150K – this one had condition issues), and a de Schryver (est. $120-180K).  There was one result that left me wondering… lot 27 was a 30 x 19-inch nude by Julius Leblanc Stewart.  The painting was estimated at $80-120K and sold for $11K ($13.8K w/p). So, the question now is: was their estimate way off, or did someone get the bargain of a lifetime?  Guess we will find out when it comes up for sale again.

By the time the 62 lot sale was over, just 27 works found buyers (43.5% sell-through rate), and the total take was $659K ($820K w/p) … the low end of their estimate range was $1.89M … so they were WAY short (still an understatement).  Of the 27 sold works, 18 were below, 6 within, and 3 above their presale estimate ranges; this left them with an accuracy rate of just 9.7%. Yikes.