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The Getty buys $30 million Gentileschi, but nearly half the lots fail at Sotheby’s Old Masters sale

January 28, 2016
Lot 41. ORAZIO GENTILESCHI PISA 1563 - 1639 LONDON DANAË oil on canvas 63 ½ by 89 ¼ in.; 161.3 by 226.7 cm. Estimate: $25-35 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $ ($ with fees). Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 41. ORAZIO GENTILESCHI PISA 1563 – 1639 LONDON DANAË
oil on canvas: 63 ½ by 89 ¼ in.; 161.3 by 226.7 cm.
Estimate: $25-35 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $27 million ($30,490,000 with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Tonight’s sale of Old Master Paintings at Sotheby’s brought in more money with one lot – Orazio Gentileschi’s Danae, which sold to the Getty Museum for more than $30 million – than the entire sale of Old Masters the night earlier from the estate of Alfred Taubman, the ex-con former chairman of the company.  It was a good new bad news sort of night – the sale pulled in $44,980,000 ($53,743,500 with all of the buyer’s fees) – but 30 of the 61 lots offered cratered, including the cover lot, Canaletto’s Interior view of the Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey.

The sale opened with a banal pair of Sano di Pietro depictions of Saints Jerome and Anthony of Padua that hammered at $180,000 ($225,000 with fees), just below its $200,000 low estimate, followed by the Luca di Tomme (below), which made $90,000 ($112,500 with fees), just short of the $100,000 low estimate, and the Ventura di Moro (below), which made its $120,000 low estimate ($150,000 with fees). All three lots were sold to the same telephone bidder.

Next up, a weird Bedoli of a startled looking young woman followed by a small, listless Lucas Cranach – both tanked – then a School of Fontainebleau full length Pandora lit up the room, zipping past its $500,000 high estimate to make $620,000 ($754,000 with fees); it was purchased by the Louvre according to the Art Tribune.  The delightfully bizarre Temptation of Saint Anthony by a Bosch follower, and once owned by Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, later Pope Urban VIII, drew multiple bidders whipping past its $400,000 to hammer for $700,000 ($850,000 with fees).

Three Madonna and Child paintings by Botticelli and studio attracted considerable attention and active bidding – lots 10, 12 and 16 – the first two each hammered for $1.1 million ($1,330,000 with fees), and the third made $650,000 ($790,000 with fees), and was sold the the same telephone bidder who bought the sale’s first three lots.  The next five works, beginning with the Lorenzetti (below) and including an insipid pair of putti by Vasari, all bombed.

The Savery rocky landscape, lot 23 (below), alleviated the carnage, finding a buyer at $340,000 ($418,000 with fees). Lot 27, the Jordaens (below), which the sale catalogue said was “totally unknown and completely unpublished,” and which would look so much nicer following a good bath, opened at $3.3 million and crept up to its $4 million low estimate ($4.73 million with fees), which seemed to be the only legitimate bid.

After a couple of more buy-ins a large, saccharine and ostentatious Paul de Vos & Paul Wildens Garden of Eden surpassed its $500,000 high estimate to hammer for $540,000 ($658,000 with fees).  This was followed a less than compelling Rubens of Saint Norbert overcoming Tanchelm that fetched $1.5 million ($1.81 million with fees), above the $1.2 million high estimate, and then a leaden van Dyck, lot 32, The Tribute Moneythat failed at $1.9 million, just below the $2 million low estimate. Surprisingly, the Giaquinto (below), which the catalogue said was “only recently discovered,” tanked at $170,000, below the $200,000 low estimate – by that point it was the 17th lot to fail.

The Gentileschi brought a bit of energy to the room.  Since it carried a third party guarantee, its sale was a foregone conclusion. However, since 19 previous lots had bombed by this point, nearly half the sale, a big hammer price brought much needed relief. Bidding opened at $20 million – after four bids over three long minutes it hammered for $27 million ($30,490,000 with fees).   The painting was purchased by the Getty Museum, according to Bloomberg. Seven of the next eleven lots tanked including a pair of Platzers that plotzed (sorry) and the panoramic Vanvitelli of Rome (below), though the Saenredam (below) did hit its $2.5 million low estimate ($3.01 million with fees), purchased by London-based dealer Johnny van Haeften, according to the Telegraph.  Lot 54, the Hubert Robert, sold below estimate for $140,000 ($175,000 with fees). Although not remarkable, it’s quite pleasing and hits my soft spot for Italy and great Italian gardens. The Joli view of London (below), which I found cold (and not as interesting as the same scene by Canaletto in the Lobkowicz collection in Prague), sold well below its $2 million low estimate, making $1.4 million ($1.69 million with fees), to the same buyer as the evening’s first three lots & Lot 16, the Botticelli Madonna and Child.  The last major lot, by estimate,  Canaletto’s Interior view of the Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey, opened at $3.8 million, and promptly bombed at $4.2 million, well below its $5 million low estimate.  The final lot of the evening, a Turner watercolor, usually reliable material at auction, also tanked, the 30th work to do so in the 61-lot sale.

Lot 2. LUCA DI TOMMÈ ACTIVE IN SIENA 1356 - AFTER 1389 CHRIST BLESSING tempera on panel, gold ground, with a shaped top, the corners of which are made up overall: 16 1/4 by 10 3/4 in.; 41.1 by 27.1 cm.painted surface: 15 by 9 7/8 in.; 38.1 by 25 cm. Estimate: $100,000-150,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $ ($ with fees). Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 2. LUCA DI TOMMÈ ACTIVE IN SIENA 1356 – AFTER 1389 CHRIST BLESSING
tempera on panel, gold ground, with a shaped top, the corners of which are made up
overall: 16 1/4 by 10 3/4 in.; 41.1 by 27.1 cm.painted surface: 15 by 9 7/8 in.; 38.1 by 25 cm.
Estimate: $100,000-150,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $90,000 ($112,500 with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 3. VENTURA DI MORO BORN IN FLORENCE BETWEEN 1395 AND 1402 - 1486 MADONNA AND CHILD WITH FOUR SAINTS tempera on panel, gold ground, arched top 46 by 24 in.; 117 by 61 cm. Estimate: $120,000-180,000. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 3. VENTURA DI MORO BORN IN FLORENCE BETWEEN 1395 AND 1402 – 1486
MADONNA AND CHILD WITH FOUR SAINTS
tempera on panel, gold ground, arched top: 46 by 24 in.; 117 by 61 cm.
Estimate: $120,000-180,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $120,000 ($150,000 with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 8. FOLLOWER OF HIERONYMOUS BOSCH, CIRCA 1550 THE TEMPTATION OF SAINT ANTHONY oil on panel, with painted added strips of 1 cm on each side 17 1/8 by 22 7/8 in.; 43.5 by 58 cm. Estimate: $300,000-400,000. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 8. FOLLOWER OF HIERONYMOUS BOSCH, CIRCA 1550 THE TEMPTATION OF SAINT ANTHONY
oil on panel, with painted added strips of 1 cm on each side: 17 1/8 by 22 7/8 in.; 43.5 by 58 cm.
Estimate: $300,000-400,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $700,000 ($850,000 with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 11. LUDOVICO MAZZOLINO FERRARA CIRCA 1480 - AFTER 27 SEPTEMBER 1528 SAINT JEROME IN CONTEMPLATION dated on the plinth lower right: 1528 oil and gold on panel 15 1/2 by 12 1/4 in.; 39.4 by 31.1 cm. Estimate: $250,000-350,000. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 11. LUDOVICO MAZZOLINO FERRARA CIRCA 1480 – AFTER 27 SEPTEMBER 1528
SAINT JEROME IN CONTEMPLATION dated on the plinth lower right: 1528
oil and gold on panel: 15 1/2 by 12 1/4 in.; 39.4 by 31.1 cm.
Estimate: $250,000-350,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $230,000 and it failed to sell.
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 17. PIETRO LORENZETTI AND WORKSHOP SIENA 1276 - 1348 THE CRUCIFIXION WITH THE VIRGIN, AND SAINTS MARY MAGDALENE, JOHN THE EVANGELIST AND A FRANCISCAN FEMALE SAINT tempera on panel, gold ground 16 1/8 by 10 1/4 in.; 40.9 by 26.1 cm. Estimate: $600,000-800,000. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 17. PIETRO LORENZETTI AND WORKSHOP SIENA 1276 – 1348
THE CRUCIFIXION WITH THE VIRGIN, AND SAINTS MARY MAGDALENE, JOHN THE
EVANGELIST AND A FRANCISCAN FEMALE SAINT
tempera on panel, gold ground: 16 1/8 by 10 1/4 in.; 40.9 by 26.1 cm.
Estimate: $600,000-800,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $550,000 and it failed to sell.
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 23. ROELANDT SAVERY KORTRIJK 1576 - 1639 UTRECHT A ROCKY LANDSCAPE WITH TRAVELERS signed and dated lower right: ROELANDT/SAVERY FE/1632 oil on panel 22 7/8 by 47 1/4 in.; 58 by 120 cm. Estimate: $300,000-500,000. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 23. ROELANDT SAVERY KORTRIJK 1576 – 1639 UTRECHT A ROCKY LANDSCAPE WITH TRAVELERS signed and dated lower right: ROELANDT/SAVERY FE/1632
oil on panel: 22 7/8 by 47 1/4 in.; 58 by 120 cm.
Estimate: $300,000-500,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $340,000 ($418,000 with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 27. JACOB JORDAENS ANTWERP 1593 - 1678 SAINT MARTIN HEALING THE POSSESSED MAN signed and dated lower right: iacobvs iordaens in et pinxit Ao 1630 oil on canvas 48 1/4 by 34 1/2 in.; 122.5 by 87.5 cm. Estimate: $4-6 million. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 27. JACOB JORDAENS ANTWERP 1593 – 1678 SAINT MARTIN HEALING THE POSSESSED MAN signed and dated lower right: iacobvs iordaens in et pinxit Ao 1630
oil on canvas: 48 1/4 by 34 1/2 in.; 122.5 by 87.5 cm.
Estimate: $4-6 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $4 million ($4.73 million with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 34. CORRADO GIAQUINTO MOLFETTA 1703 - 1766 NAPLES THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION WITH THE PROPHET ELIJAH oil on canvas, with a painted arched top 41 by 23 3/8 in.; 104 by 59.4 cm. Estimate: $200,000-300,000. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 34. CORRADO GIAQUINTO MOLFETTA 1703 – 1766 NAPLES
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION WITH THE PROPHET ELIJAH
oil on canvas, with a painted arched top: 41 by 23 3/8 in.; 104 by 59.4 cm.
Estimate: $200,000-300,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $170,000 and it failed to sell.
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 48. THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN PIETER JANSZ. SAENREDAM ASSENDELFT 1597 - 1665 HAARLEM THE TOWN HALL AT HAARLEM WITH THE ENTRY OF PRINCE MAURITS TO REPLACE THE GOVERNERS IN 1618 oil on oak panel 15 1/2 by 19 1/2 in.; 39.5 by 49.5 cm. Estimate: $2.5-3.5 million. Click animate to enlarge.

Lot 48. THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN PIETER JANSZ. SAENREDAM ASSENDELFT 1597 – 1665 HAARLEM
THE TOWN HALL AT HAARLEM WITH THE ENTRY OF PRINCE MAURITS TO REPLACE THE
GOVERNERS IN 1618
oil on oak panel: 15 1/2 by 19 1/2 in.; 39.5 by 49.5 cm.
Estimate: $2.5-3.5 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $2.5 million ($3.10 million with fees).
Click animate to enlarge.

Lot 52. GASPAR VAN WITTEL, CALLED VANVITELLI AMERSFOORT 1652/3 - 1736 ROME ROME, A VIEW OF THE CHURCH OF SANTI MARCELLINO E PIETRO, FROM THE VIGNA CICCOLINI, WITH THE PALAZZO LATERANO, THE CHURCH OF SAN GIOVANNI IN LATERANO, THE OSPEDALE DI SAN GIOVANNI AND RUINS OF THE CLAUDIAN AQUEDUCT BEYOND oil on canvas 29 1/2 by 52 3/8 in.; 75 by 132.8 cm. Estimate: $1-2 million. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 52. GASPAR VAN WITTEL, CALLED VANVITELLI AMERSFOORT 1652/3 – 1736 ROME
ROME, A VIEW OF THE CHURCH OF SANTI MARCELLINO E PIETRO, FROM THE VIGNA
CICCOLINI, WITH THE PALAZZO LATERANO, THE CHURCH OF SAN GIOVANNI IN
LATERANO, THE OSPEDALE DI SAN GIOVANNI AND RUINS OF THE CLAUDIAN
AQUEDUCT BEYOND
oil on canvas: 29 1/2 by 52 3/8 in.; 75 by 132.8 cm.
Estimate: $1-2 million. Bidding on this lot stopped at $800,000 and it failed to sell.
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 54. HUBERT ROBERT PARIS 1733 - 1808 THE TEATRO DELLE ACQUE IN THE GARDEN OF THE VILLA ALDOBRANDINI oil on canvas 22 by 29 7/8 in.; 55.9 by 75.8 cm. Estimate: $150,000-200,000. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 54. HUBERT ROBERT PARIS 1733 – 1808
THE TEATRO DELLE ACQUE IN THE GARDEN OF THE VILLA ALDOBRANDINI
oil on canvas: 22 by 29 7/8 in.; 55.9 by 75.8 cm.
Estimate: $150,000-200,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $140,000 ($175,000 with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 56. ANTONIO JOLI MODENA CIRCA 1700 - 1777 NAPLES LONDON, A VIEW OF THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER OVER THE RIVER THAMES FROM LAMBETH oil on canvas 59 3/8 by 109 3/8 in.; 150.8 by 278 cm. Estimate: $2-3 million. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 56. ANTONIO JOLI MODENA CIRCA 1700 – 1777 NAPLES
LONDON, A VIEW OF THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER OVER THE RIVER THAMES FROM
LAMBETH
oil on canvas: 59 3/8 by 109 3/8 in.; 150.8 by 278 cm.
Estimate: $2-3 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $1.4 million ($1.69 million with fees).
Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 59. GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, CALLED CANALETTO VENICE 1697 - 1768 AN INTERIOR VIEW OF THE HENRY VII CHAPEL, WESTMINSTER ABBEY oil on canvas 30 1/2 by 26 1/4 in.; 77.5 by 67 cm. Estimate: $5-8 million. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 59. GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, CALLED CANALETTO VENICE 1697 – 1768
AN INTERIOR VIEW OF THE HENRY VII CHAPEL, WESTMINSTER ABBEY
oil on canvas: 30 1/2 by 26 1/4 in.; 77.5 by 67 cm.
Estimate: $5-8 million. Bidding on this lot stopped at $4.2 million and it failed to sell.
Click on image to enlarge.

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