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  • THE HIGHEST PRICE EVER ACHIEVED BY AN OLD MASTER AT CHRISTIE’S

    SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (Seigen 1577-1640 Antwerp), Lot and his Daughters, circa 1613-1614. Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2016

    SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (Seigen 1577-1640 Antwerp), Lot and his Daughters, circa 1613-1614. Courtesy CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2016

    Peter Paul Rubens’s Lot and his Daughters) achieved £44,882,500, the highest price ever achieved for an Old Master painting at Christie’s in London this evening. Painted c1613-14 it was sold to a collector on the phone in Christie’s Old Master and British Paintings Evening Sale, part of Classic Week in London. The hammer came down after a bidding battle lasting fourteen minutes.  There were four bidders involved. One of the most important paintings by the artist to have remained in private hands, it is an outstanding example of Rubens’s early maturity.

    “The sale of this significant painting demonstrates that Christie’s continues to lead the masterpiece market at auction and in this field. A stunning work of psychological complexity, Lot and his Daughters was created at a time when Rubens’s reputation as the most renowned artists in Antwerp had already placed him firmly at the centre of the European artistic stage.” said Paul Raison, Deputy Chairman, Old Master Pictures. Lot and his Daughters boasts a distinguished provenance, once forming part of the collections of wealthy Antwerp merchants; a Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands; Joseph I Holy Roman Emperor; and the Dukes of Marlborough where it hung in Blenheim Palace and was sold in its original Blenheim frame. This biblical canvas illustrates the events after Lot and his family have fled the immoral city of Sodom having escaped to the desolate mountain town of Zoar.

    It was the second highest price ever paid for an Old Master painting at auction. The record is also held by Rubens whose The Massacre of the Innocents sold for £49,506,648 at auction in 2002.  The Old Master and British Evening Sale totalled  £65,390,100 achieving sell through rates of 93% by value and 77% by lot.  UPDATE: This turned out to be the highest price paid for a painting at auction in Europe in 2016.

    (See post on antiquesandartireland.com for March 11, 2016)

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