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“Cash-strapped” Baroness Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza selling major Constable painting – Estimated to sell for up to £25 Million – Updated

May 30, 2012

John Constable, R.A. (East Bergholt, Suffolk 1776-1837 London), The Lock. Oil on canvas, 56 x 47.1/2 in. (142.2 x 120.7 cm.) in the original gilt plaster and carved wood frame (framed: 183 x 163 x 1.4 cm or 72 1/16 x 64 3/16 x 9/16). Estimate: £20,000,000 – 25,000,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2012. HAMMER PRICE £20,000,000 FINAL PRICE INCLUDING BUYER’S PREMIUM £22,441,250 ($35,120,558)

Christie’s, in it’s bid (no pun intended) to build up anticipation for the July sales in London of Old Masters, has got a lock on John Constable’s The Lock. According to their announcement, this iconic painting comes from, “the Private Collection of Baroness Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza, [and] it has been sold only once since it was acquired from the artist. When bought at auction in 1990 for £10.8 million, it became the most valuable British painting ever sold at the time – a record it held for 16 years. It is expected to realise £20 million to £25 million on 3 July.”

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the Baroness is hard up for cash: “I need the money, I really need it, I have no liquidity.”

The painting was included in the National Gallery of Art’s superb 2006 exhibition Constable’s Great Landscapes: The Six-Foot Paintings.  Christie’s notes:

The Lock, which Constable exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1824, his sole exhibit there of that year, is one of the artist’s finest landscapes, and is one of six paintings that make up The Stour Series – one of the most important and influential bodies of work in the history of art. Exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1819 and 1825, the works from this series were the first of the ‘six foot’ canvases that define his artistic maturity. The Lock is a distillation of Constable’s profound emotional and artistic response to the scenery of his native Suffolk that was central to his art. Among the series are several of Constable’s most renowned works, including The Hay Wain andThe Leaping Horse, exhibited respectively in 1822 and 1825 (now London, National Gallery; and London, Royal Academy of Arts). The Lock, which is remarkable for its excellent state of preservation, is the only one of this series to remain in private hands.

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