Our sale of 19th Century European Paintings proved to be the most successful in the category of the season and was our highest grossing sale since 2010. The first 18 lots from the Estate of Jan Krugier set the pace. Featuring works by Delacroix, Gericault, Victor Hugo and Ingres, the group exceeded £500,000 - more than double its total pre-sale low estimate.
Works by other French artists Corot, Courbet and Béraud also fared well, as did a fine group of Belgian works by Emile Claus and William Degouve de Nuncques from the heirs of Arctic explorer Adrien de Gerlache. The two highest prices were reserved for The Return from Fishing by Joaquín Sorolla (£2,322,500 – estimate £1,400,000-1,800,000) and Interior with a Mirror by Vilhelm Hammershøi (£1,370,000 - estimate £600,000-800,000), although it was the sale of a Boldini that caused the most intense bidding battle, with more than twenty different bidders around world fighting to secure the pastel of a lady in an interior. Estimated at £8,000-12,000 it was finally secured by the highest bidder for £92,500.
Highlights of our 19th Century European Paintings sale include notable Scandinavian works, among them Carl Larsson’s Holiday Reading of 1916, evoking a halcyon summer’s afternoon in the artist’s garden at Lilla Hyttnäs in Sundborn, which comes to international auction for the first time; and a seminal interior by the Danish painter of space and northern light, Vilhelm Hammershøi, depicting the artist’s apartment at Strandgade 30 in Copenhagen, the subject of his most famous works. The southern light of the Mediterranean is masterfully captured in works by Spain’s Joaquín Sorolla, including Vuelta de la Pesca, Playa de Valencia (The Return from Fishing, Valencia Beach) of 1908, and a sketch of Triste herencia (Sad Inheritance) of 1906, the image that cemented the artist’s international reputation.