Lucas Cranach the Elder’s La Bocca Della Verita (The Mouth of Truth) sold for £9.3 million at Sotheby’s in London last night. This is a record for the master at auction, and almost double his previous auction record. Four paintings from the collections of Castle Howard together realized £9.1 million and earlier in the day five further works brought in £3.6 million at the Treasures sale. The evening sale of Old Master and British Paintings realized £39.3 million. There were six new artists records in a sale which saw participation from 30 countries. Ferdinand Bol’s Portrait of a Boy made £5.2 million and there were also records for Tiepolo whose unfinished portrait of the artist’s family made £2.8 million, a record for a single work by the artist; one of the earliest still lives by female Italian artist Feda Galizia made £1.6 million; Joseph Heintz the Elder (£485,000) and John Martin (£2.7 million). The Treasures sale totaled £12 million.
Alex Bell of Sotheby’s said afterwards: “As the market for Old Master & British paintings continues to evolve we’re seeing an ever more discerning and international collector base vying for a greater diversity of works. Whether it’s a work that transcend genres, such as Cranach’s masterpiece, or a ground-breaking still life created by a female artist over four centuries ago, we saw both new and established buyers from Europe, Russia and Asia competing tonight. Paintings spanning five centuries continue to surprise and excite”.