The leadup to this July’s Old Masters sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s in London has arrived with eager anticipation. Strong performance at the auction houses’ mid-season sales have insiders abuzz about the prospects for second tier works that comprise the majority of the market. These Spring sales all reported selling at least 72% by value, with nearly all of the top lots doubling their estimates.
In her preview article linked below, Susan Moore reports that “Alex Bell, co-chairman worldwide of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings department, has seen significant buying and underbidding from new clients in the former USSR and from those previously active in other collecting disciplines, notably contemporary art. “
Such success has undoubtedly left London OM dealers percolating. Johnny Van Haeften, a perennial leader in the business, has been quietly raking it in, reporting to Moore that this past February was his “gallery’s best month in 33 years in business.”
Optimism therein lies ahead for Master Paintings Week- a first year collaborative effort of dealer exhibitions from July 4-10. Mr. Van Haeften and colleagues Konrad Bernheimer, and Jonathan Green cooked up the event as a surrogate answer to the outsized model of an art fair, which will take advantage of the surge of buyers in town for the major OM auctions that same week. In addition, Colnaghi and Whitfield Fine Art will be hosting what looks to be two interesting lectures on Cranach and the Florentine High Renaissance.