Home Magazine When the tag "Masters painting" skyrocketed the sales!

As we know the traditional Sotheby's auction dedicated to the "Old Masters"  presented an exceptional selection of artworks. But lately, the change from the title “old masters’ to the "Masters painting" was a wise decision, as it stirred more attention from the young collectors. The result? At the London office, telephones never stopped ringing.

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During the morning session focused on drawings, a record was reached for a preparatory drawing by Andrea Mantegna titled "The triumph of Alexandria". The last surviving preparatory study of the artist's famous series of nine monumental paintings was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for a record of 11.7 million dollars, an exceptional price compared to the weird estimate of over 12 million dollars. Indeed, the drawing, which depicts the triumphal procession of Julius Caesar and his army through Rome, was recently included in the exhibition of the National Gallery in London "Mantegna and Bellini" after being discovered and purchased as an unattributed work for less than a thousand dollars from a small German auction house.


ANDREA MANTEGNA Padua 1431 - 1506 Mantua THE TRIUMPH OF ALEXANDRIA Pen and brown ink; Indented for transfer 266 by 266 mm; 10½ by 10½ in. Courtesy Sotheby's


"The conditions weren't perfect," said Gregory Rubenstein, head of Sotheby's master drawing department. "But it's a drawing of 530 years old and it's the rarest among the rare."

During the evening, in the sale dedicated to paintings, a magnificent altarpiece by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, "Madonna del Rosario with angels" (1735), was sold to a telephone bidder for a record of 17.3 million. This 1.80-meter high painting, signed and dated, had been purchased by its previous owner for 1.9 million from Sotheby's in London in July 1989, so at the height of the boom in the art market of that time.

Other interesting prices were reached by Rubens, Canaletto and Luca Signorelli’s artworks.

Cover image: Lot 61, Giovanni-Battista Tiepolo, Madonna of the Rosary with Angels. Courtesy Sotheby's

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