Peter Paul Rubens Sets New Record With $58 Million Old Masters Sale

The painting is the most expensive Old Master work ever sold at Christie's.

Peter Paul Rubens, Lot and His Daughters (circa 1613–14). Courtesy Christie’s.

It was a successful Old Masters sale at Christie’s London on July 7, with Peter Paul Rubens‘s Lot and His Daughters (circa 1613–14) setting a new record in the category for the house with its £44.8 million ($58.1 million) sales price.

According to the artnet Price Database, the canvas is the second-most expensive work ever sold at auction by the artist, following The Master of the Innocents (1609–11), which fetched £49.5 million ($76.5 million) at Sotheby’s London in July 2002 and is reportedly the  all-time biggest Old Master auction sale.

“The atmosphere in the saleroom was energetic as one of the most important paintings by Rubens to have remained in private hands sold after 14 minutes of bidding,” said Henry Pettifer, Christie’s international director, head of Old Master and British paintings, in a statement.

The painting had previously been part of the collections of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I, and John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, among others.

The “Old Master and British Paintings Evening Sale” brought in overall £65.4 million ($84.7 million) and boasted sell-through rates of 93 percent by value and 77 percent by lot. There were two other multi-million dollar lots, but both contained multiple works: A set of Pieter Brueghel the Younger‘s “The Four Seasons,” which sold for £6.46 million ($8.38 million) and pair of Bernardo Bellotto paintings of Venice, which fetched £3.55 million ($4.6 million).

Paul Gauguin, Fleurs D'Ete Dans Une Goblet (1885). Courtesy Litchfield County Auctions.

Paul Gauguin, Fleurs D’Ete Dans Une Goblet (1885). Courtesy Litchfield County Auctions.

Meanwhile, another hotly anticipated canvas failed to live up to expectations at auction late last month. Jeanne Byington points out that Paul Gauguin’s rediscovered Fleurs D’Ete Dans Une Goblet (1885), which sold at Connecticut’s Litchfield County Auctions on June 29, failed to find a buyer. The work, which had long been unrecognized, was expected to fetch as much as $1.2 million, but does not appear to have attracted a single bid.

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