Monday, November 10, 2008

OLD MASTERS : NO CRISIS IN VIEW




The last sale of Old Masters recently held in Amsterdam by Christie's was a huge satisfaction for both auctioneer and sellers and a clear sign that the Art market is not going down the drain as fast as some misinformed media have already reported.

Tendencies are definitely on the upside and sellers were extremely happy by the resilience of the market. Amsterdam Christie's was offering on the 10th of November 2008 a set of 67 Old Masters' paintings made by followers, attributed or circles and in most cases by Secundary Old Masters themselves : fortunately for the sellers, not one single of the pictures on offer went below the estimate.

The excess went up as much as 25% in most cases and as 250% in some others : for instance the highest price was reached by an oil on panel (52.4 x 84.1 cm.) made by Flemish master Pieter Claesz. (c. 1597-1660 Haarlem) representing some quinces, peaches, a sliced melon on a silver plate, a bread roll, a leg of ham on a pewter plate, a knife, a 'Roemer' of white wine, a stoneware jug and a basket of fruit, all on a table signed with monogram and dated 'A° Pc 1651' (picture). It was estimated between $ 90,000 and $ 128,000 and it reached $ 324,000. (picture on the left).

The second highest price was reached by a Study of three young women by the studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens that went for
$ 121,000 vs. an estimate mimimum of $ 100,000. A beautiful oil on copper representing a gothic church interior with elegantly dressed figures signed and dated Henrick van Steenwijk 1578 that was estimated between 19,000 adn 25,000 dollars went for $ 47,399.

An oil on canvas (picture on the right) by Jan Fyt (Antwerp 1611-1661) representing mixed grapes, cherries and plums by a cauldron with figs, an apple, a partridge and four quails nearby that was estimated $64,052 - $89,673 went for $93,516 (buyer's premium included). This picture was confiscated by the Nazis during the War in 1941 and was sold to Dr. Hans Posse, ex Director of the Dresden Art Gallery, appointed Director of the Special Mission Linz by Hitler himself, for the planned F├╝hrer Museum in Linz (Austria) that was never constructed.

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