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    The Death of the Virgin (click on image to enlarge).

    ONE of the highest prices for a wood sculpture was achieved by a German walnut Half-Relief with the Death of the Virgin. Dated circa 1430-40 it made £529,250 at Sotheby’s in London on July 8.  It had been estimated at  £60,000-80,000.  It had been restituted to the heirs of Ottmar Strauss in 2010 from the Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe. A Jew who rose through the ranks of industry and government  Ottmar Strauss (1878-1941) lost favour and fortune after 1933 once Hitler had seized power. The Strauss collection was dispersed in three forced sales held at Hugo Helbing in Frankfurt am Main in 1934 and 1935.

    The half relief was the top lot in a sale of Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art which made £2,657,050 against an estimate of £2,221,700-3,309,000.This carved chalcedony cover made £1,497,250. (click on image to enlarge).

    Alexander Kader, Head of Sotheby’s European Sculpture and Works of Art Department, said: “Combined with two lots offered this week in the Treasures, Princely Taste sale, the chalcedony cover attributed to Miseroni, which sold for £1,497,250,(illustrated on the right), and the pair of allegorical bronze sculptures by Francesco Bertos, which sold  for £577,250, this brings a combined total of £4,731,550 for Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art sold at Sotheby’s London over two days.”

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