This December’s sale achieved the highest total for an auction of 19th & 20th Century Sculpture at Sotheby’s, testifying to the strength of the market and the high quality of lots offered. The sale was led by Adolfo Wildt’s masterpiece Santa Lucia, which reached a final price of £485,000 against an estimate of £80,000-120,000, highlighting the current taste for early 20th-century Modernist sculpture.
Neoclassical and Romantic marbles saw consistently strong results, with the important group Tribute to the God of Wine by Anton Werres achieving £293,000. Further highlights included two exceptional bronzes: a large cast of Alfred Gilbert’s Perseus, which sold for £100,000, and a Portrait of a Woman Seated by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, which made £87,000 against an estimate of £35,000-50,000.
Sotheby’s unrivalled sale of pre-war European sculpture is led by an important Parisian collection, including Anton Werres’ Tribute to the God of Wine. The sale traces the history of sculpture from the exuberance of the 19th century through to the clean modernity of the 20th century. Highlights include a dazzling group of works by Vincenzo Gemito, led by his silver gilt Nettuno giovinetto. Other important works include Félicie and Hippolyte de Fauveau’s Fontaine dite au triton (Triton Fountain), and an exceptional large size version of Alfred Gilbert’s Perseus.