Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s (December 5th and 6th respectively) recently hosted Dutch Master Auctions. Both sales generated a lot of buzz in their lead up and were highlighted by their own copy of Princess Mary, Daughter of Charles I, by famed Anthony Van Dyck and Studio. While they are nearly identical, the version up sold by Christie’s included a signature from the artist, driving the price upwards. The piece received high praise from Christie’s, claiming it to be “one of the most important European Royal Portraits to come to auction in a generation.” The Christie’s Van Dyck was estimated to be worth between $6-10 million and fetched $7.3 million – the Sotheby’s version sold for $1,006,618.
Despite Christie’s having a higher sales total for the evening, it can be said that Sotheby’s had the more interesting group of lots. One piece in particular – Study of the Head and Clasped Hands of A Young Man As Christ in Prayer by Rembrandt – helped in adding to the night’s excitement. With the rarity of the Rembrandt and other works, Sotheby’s was able to bring in an estimated $27 million in total sales. This total was aided by two additional portraits by Anthony van Dyck – these being of King Charles’ I children which were kept in the same collection for nearly 100 years.