Monday, March 5, 2007

Victorians Fetch High Prices at Christie's Auction

The Christie's auction of Victorian drawings, paintings, and decorative arts described in my post of February 21 fetched more than £1.3 million last week.

The 296 lots in "Christopher Wood: A Very Victorian Eye" included works by some of the best-known artists of the nineteenth century. The top price, however, was realized not by Burne-Jones, Millais, Rossetti, or Watts, but by the lesser-known John Atkinson Grimshaw, whose Lovers in a Wood by Moonlight (1873), shown here, sold for £156,000, a full £6,000 above the estimate.

A red and black chalk drawing of a girl's head by John William Waterhouse that had been estimated at £30-50,000 went for £72,000. A watercolor by William Fraser Garden, Woodland Scene at Twilight (1885), went for £60,000, four to six times its estimate of £10-15,000. The Crossing Sweeper by William Powell Frith, highlighted in my previous post, realized £26,400, well over its estimate.

From The Independent, 6 March: "Provenance is a key factor in determining the value of a work of art, and was seen at work last week at Christie's which was selling works from the collection of the Victorian art dealer Christopher Wood. Estimates were kept low to encourage bidding, and more than 90 per cent of the 268 works offered were sold, some for record prices. The most telling result was for Credo, a 16-inch bronze by Emmanuel Fremiet. Examples of this work sell regularly for between £2,000 and £3,000, and Christie's had valued it accordingly. But on the day, a private UK buyer paid £38,500 for Wood's version."

For a complete list of auction results, visit Artnet.


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