This December’s Evening sale is led by three extraordinary works from the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth, including perhaps the finest of Raphael’s six surviving auxiliary cartoons for his last great masterpiece, The Transfiguration, and two 15th Century manuscripts which are among the most lavish and finest still in private hands. Complementing these remarkable Renaissance masterworks is a set of four scenes from the Passion of Christ by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, the only known surviving examples of an Italian 14th-century narrative cycle painted on a linen fabric support.
WEDNESDAY, 5 DECEMBER, LONDON - In a crowded saleroom at Sotheby’s London, the art world witnessed an historic moment tonight when Raphael’s Head of a Young Apostle (c. 1519-20) dramatically set a new record at auction for the artist, when it achieved £29.7 million / $47.8 million / €36.6 million. Following an intense 17 minute battle between four bidders - both in the auction room and on the phones – the hammer came down on the winning bid which was cast on the telephone. The room erupted in a round of applause as the drawing - which came to sale from one of the greatest Old Master Drawings collections in the world, the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth - achieved a price almost three times that of its pre-sale low estimate of £10-15 million.
Gregory Rubinstein, Worldwide Head of Old Master Drawings at Sotheby’s, said“If you are lucky, at some point in your career a work like this comes along. A number of the world’s greatest collectors stepped up tonight in recognition of the genius of Raphael and the extraordinary beauty of this drawing with its exceptional provenance.”