London’s 19th Century European Paintings sale on 20 November saw a number of notable results. The market for top Scandinavian works remained strong, with two works by Vilhelm Hammershøi, The Balcony Room at Spurveskjul and Interior with a Bust, selling for £170,500 and £662,500 respectively, and Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Death of Wilhelm von Schwerin for £122,500. High prices were also set for Czech art, with Emil Filla’s View over Gruž achieving £110,500 and Jan Zrzavý’s Sleeping Boy soaring to £542,500, over double its high estimate, a new world record for the artist.
Amongst the sale highlights are Joaquín Sorolla’s Playa de Valencia of 1910, a bravura rendition of sunshine and light on the beach in the artist’s home region of Spain, showing the local fishermen bringing in the day’s catch. At the other end of the spectrum but similar in date is Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi’s symphony of stillness and light,Interior with Bust, a new and unrecorded discovery epitomising the artist’s haunting interiors. The sale also features an important collection of Austrian Biedermeier and modern works belonging to collector and art patron Antal Post de Bekessy, which includes masterpieces by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Carl Moll and Tina Blau. Other works by artists from across Europe include a night market by the Belgian chiaroscuro painter Petrus van Schendel and a fascinating evocation of the dawn of the motoring age, The Garage by the Catalan artist Ramón Casas.