Christie's Old Master evening sale

Christie's Old Master evening sale June 16 2022 Picture: Christie's The catalogue for Christie's Old Master evening sale has gone online, and there are many nice pictures to see. I'll come back later for a more detailed look at the sale (and when Sotheby's put theirs up*). But my eye was immediately drawn to a Portrait of a Carmelite Monk, catalogued as a work by Van Dyck, estimated at £2.8m-£3.5m. This picture was largely unknown, until it was sold at Sotheby's in 2011, also by Van Dyck, for £713,250, against an estimate of £600,000-£800,000. Back then, I thought it was probably not by Van Dyck (as I wrote on AHN here), but Rubens, which was its traditional attribution (the provenance was from a descendant of Rubens, and it was even traditionally identified as "Rubens' confessor"). Now, however, I think it is by Van Dyck, and I was wrong in 2011. I remember seeing it in the excellent Van Dyck: the Antomy of Portraiture exhibtion at the Frick in 2016, and realising, under the patient tutelage of curators Stijn Alsteens and Adam Eaker, that they were quite right, it was early Van Dyck.  Either way, I remember there was general agreement back in 2011 that whether it was by Rubens or Van Dyck, the price then was something of a bargain. Now, an astute collector has seen their taste vindicated, for not only is the estimate much higher, but the picture is guaranteed by Christie's. It represents how much the market for Old Master pictures can change, even in the space of a relatively short time. * Less than three weeks till the sale, and still no catalogue - tut!

Christie's Old Master evening sale

Christie's Old Master evening sale

June 16 2022

Image of Christie's Old Master evening sale

Picture: Christie's

The catalogue for Christie's Old Master evening sale has gone online, and there are many nice pictures to see. I'll come back later for a more detailed look at the sale (and when Sotheby's put theirs up*). But my eye was immediately drawn to a Portrait of a Carmelite Monk, catalogued as a work by Van Dyck, estimated at £2.8m-£3.5m. This picture was largely unknown, until it was sold at Sotheby's in 2011, also by Van Dyck, for £713,250, against an estimate of £600,000-£800,000.

Back then, I thought it was probably not by Van Dyck (as I wrote on AHN here), but Rubens, which was its traditional attribution (the provenance was from a descendant of Rubens, and it was even traditionally identified as "Rubens' confessor"). Now, however, I think it is by Van Dyck, and I was wrong in 2011. I remember seeing it in the excellent Van Dyck: the Antomy of Portraiture exhibtion at the Frick in 2016, and realising, under the patient tutelage of curators Stijn Alsteens and Adam Eaker, that they were quite right, it was early Van Dyck. 

Either way, I remember there was general agreement back in 2011 that whether it was by Rubens or Van Dyck, the price then was something of a bargain. Now, an astute collector has seen their taste vindicated, for not only is the estimate much higher, but the picture is guaranteed by Christie's. It represents how much the market for Old Master pictures can change, even in the space of a relatively short time.

* Less than three weeks till the sale, and still no catalogue - tut!