Press Release

Sotheby’s Masters Week Auctions in New York Achieve $94.3 Million

New York

338 Lots Sold Across 4 Auctions

15 Lots Exceed $1 Million

Nearly Half of All Sold Lots Exceed Their High Estimates

3,000+ Visitors Flock to Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries

To Attend the Public Pre-Sale Exhibition


Highest Total for a Master Paintings Sale at Sotheby’s NY Since 2012

*Up 16% Year-Over-Year*

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s 8-Foot Tall Altarpiece of the

Madonna of the Rosary with Angels Sells for a Record $17.3 Million,

Nearly 3X the Artist’s Previous Auction Record

Evening Sale Sets 7 New Auction Records,

Including Willem de Poorter and Dirck van Baburen


Highest-Ever Result for an Auction of Old Master Drawings at Sotheby’s Worldwide

For the Second Consecutive Year

Andrea Mantegna’s The Triumph of Alexandria Sells for $11.7 Million

New Auction Record for a Drawing by the Renaissance Artist


*The 5th Most Expensive Old Master Drawing Ever Sold at Auction*

On Offer from the Collection of Marylou Whitney,

Sir Alfred J. Munning’s Mahmoud Being Saddled for the Derby, 1936

Achieves $3.1 Million

Leading Sotheby’s 19th Century European Art Sale

NEW YORK, 31 January 2020 – Sotheby’s annual Masters Week auctions concluded today in New York, with 338 paintings, drawings and sculptures selling for an overall total of $94.3 million, firmly within the series’ pre-sale estimate ($81.2 – 103.6 million), and with nearly 50% of sold lots achieving prices above their estimate.

Below is an overview of the sales and highlights that drove this week’s results:


Auction Total: $61.1 Million

Christopher Apostle, Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department in New York, commented: “Our wonderful results were an indicator of the strength of the Master Paintings market across the full range of this field, from early Italian and Northern pictures to Baroque paintings and 17th century Dutch and Flemish pictures. Works of the finest quality achieved significant prices, most notably the record-setting sale of the monumental Madonna by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and two extraordinary works by Sir Peter Paul Rubens that had not been on the market in decades. Throughout the sale, we saw spirited bidding in the room, on the phone, and online, with many works far exceeding their high estimates after back-and-forth bidding battles. There was a broad base of buyers, including private collectors and dealers from the United States, Europe, and Asia.”

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Madonna of the Rosary with Angels

The Evening Sale was led by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s monumental altarpiece of The Madonna of the Rosary with Angels, which sold for $17.3 million, establishing a new record for the artist at auction, and more than doubling the artist’s previous auction record. Painted in 1735, the altarpiece is a mature early work, dating from a period that is considered Tiepolo’s best and one that brought him recognition as the greatest painter of 18th-century Europe. Measuring over 8 feet tall, the work is distinguished as the largest and most valuable offering of the Venetian artist's work to come to market. Major works of such astounding quality by Tiepolo are rare on the international market, for much of his work was carried out in frescoes and altarpieces that remain in situ or are located in museums.

The sale’s offering of Flemish masterworks was led by Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s The Virgin and Christ Child, With Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist, which sold for $7.1 million (estimate $6/8 million). Recently rediscovered through research led by Sotheby’s Otto Naumann, the painting appeared at auction for the first time in over 70 years, having remained in private collections. Previously unrecorded, the work represents a critical addition to Rubens scholarship and will appear in the forthcoming new volume of the Corpus Rubenianum catalogue raisonné.

The sale also established new artist records for Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Andrea di Niccolò, Willem de Poorter, Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraaten, Crispin van den Broeck, Franceso Zanin, and Dirck van Baburen, whose Granida and Daifilo sold for $1 million to the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.


Auction Total: $15.1 Million

Gregory Rubinstein, Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings Department, commented: “We are extremely pleased with the results from our sale, which set a record for an Old Master Drawings auction at Sotheby’s worldwide—the second year in a row we’ve established a new benchmark during Masters Week in New York. As the market continues to grow and trend upward, we saw great demand for works of the highest quality and rarity. Led by Andrea Mantegna’s only known preparatory study for his Triumphs series, along with the first drawing by 15th century master Bernardino Pintoricchio ever to appear at auction, collectors responded enthusiastically to these exceedingly rare masterworks. To showcase works and artists that have been obscured for centuries is a remarkable thrill and privilege, and we look forward to offering exquisite treasures in London this July.”

Italian Renaissance master Andrea Mantegna’s only known preparatory study for his painting of The Triumph of Alexandria, the second canvas in the great series of nine paintings representing The Triumph of Caesar, now in the British Royal Collection at Hampton Court Palace, achieved a record-setting $11.7 million. The sale established a new auction record for a drawing by the artist and places the work as the 5th most expensive Old Master drawing sold at auction. It also marks the most expensive Old Master drawing sold in the United States.

Andrea Mantegna, The Triumph of Alexandria

One of the most art historically important drawings ever to appear at auction, the pen and ink drawing was recently rediscovered and Mantegna’s authorship was conclusively determined through the research of Cristiana Romalli, Senior Director and Italian specialist in Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings department. On the sale of the drawing, Romalli commented: “It has been such a privilege to bring this masterpiece to auction and to get to know this superb work, which is a great testament of one of the most important artists of the Renaissance. It’s been the year of Mantegna, having been the subject of three major museum shows in 2019, and we were thrilled to see it generate such excitement among private collectors and institutions alike.”

The study is among approximately 20 known drawings by Mantegna. All except two are in the collections of major museums, such as the British Museum in London, and only two other drawings by Mantegna have appeared at auction in the last half century. The drawing is a study for ‘The Standard Bearers and the Siege Equipment,’ which is the second canvas in the Triumphs series of nine paintings. The drawing theatrically recreates a section of the processional that includes gigantic statues on carts, a model of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and oversized siege weapons.

A further highlight from Tuesday’s sale include a beautifully preserved drawing of The Madonna and Child by the early Umbrian master, Bernardino di Betto, called Pintoricchio, which soared past its pre-sale high estimate of $600,000, realizing $920,000 and establishing a new auction record for the artist. Measuring over 8 inches in length, this extraordinary devotional image was unknown to scholars until very recently and is the first drawing by the artist to appear at auction. Approximately 10 drawings by the artist are known, and the works that constitute the very small corpus of the artist’s known drawings are close to the graphic style of Perugino, and to that of the young Raphael, whose debt to the Umbrian master is evident in his very early career.


Auction Total: $8.6 Million

Thursday’s sale was led by a bronze cast of the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni from the Workshop of Gianlorenzo Bernini, which sold for $572,000 (estimate $350/450,000). Previously in the collection of the Altieri, the family who commissioned Bernini to sculpt his magisterial marble Blessed Ludovica Albertoni for their chapel at S. Franesco a Ripa in 1671, the present work is one of the most important sculptures associated with Bernini to have come onto the market in recent years. Up until yesterday’s auction, the work has been on long term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland.

The sale also featured a lively Portrait of a Fisherman Holding a Beer Keg by Frans Hals and Studio, which sold for $475,000 to benefit the Portland Museum of Art, Maine (estimate $150/200,000). Painted with Hals’s signature bravura brushwork and talent for capturing the character of his subjects, this portrait provides a fascinating insight into life in 17th century Holland as well as the working methods of the artist and his studio practice.

Further highlights included Jusepe de Ribera’s Baroque depiction of the Old Testament subject Job on the Ash Heap, which sold for $437,500 (estimate $300/500,000), and a Portrait of James Stuart, Fourth Duke of Lennox and First Duke of Richmond, from the Studio of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, which achieved $375,000 – more than two times its high estimate.


Auction Total: $9.5 Million

Seth Armitage, Co-Head of Sotheby’s 19th Century European Art Department, commented: “Today’s auction saw strong results that truly express the breadth of the genre, with significant prices achieved for works spanning many different regions and decades of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Results were especially strong for works with storied provenance, notably Mahmoud Being Saddled for the Derby, 1936 by Sir Alfred J. Munnings, a magnificent work from the collection of Marylou Whitney. Bidding was strong across many categories, including sculpture, Academic and Orientalist paintings, with international competition.”

Sir Alfred J. Munnings, Mahmoud Being Saddled for the Derby, 1936

Friday morning’s sale was led by Sir Alfred J. Munning’s Mahmoud Being Saddled for the Derby, 1936, which sold for $3.1 million, one of the top 10 prices achieved by the artist at auction. A highlight from the Collection of Marylou Whitney, the prominent philanthropist, arts patron and thoroughbred breeder, the magnificent canvas memorialized the star stallion’s record-setting Derby victory. Commissioned by Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, Aga Khan III, Mahmoud’s first owner, the stallion would later retire to the Whitney’s farm in Kentucky, where he sired some of the most important lines in modern American racing. Also on offer from the Whitney Collection, Munning’s My Horse Anarchist, achieved $200,000.

Unseen on the market for over 40 years, William Bouguereau’s masterful Oro Pro Nobis sold for $680,000 (estimate $500/700,000). Painted in 1903, the oil on canvas depicts the Virgin Mary in a similar composition to those used by the Italian Renaissance masters Bouguereau deeply admired, such as Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, and Leonardo da Vinci, and displays Bouguereau’s brilliant technique in recording detail and his commitment to the subject, combining the real and the theological, presenting sublime, spiritual beauty.

Orientalist paintings and sculpture capturing the dynamic landscapes and lives of North Africa, the Middle East, and India performed strongly, led by Edwin Lord Weeks’ Departure for the Hunt, which achieved $162,500 (estimate $80/120,000).

Further highlights included Gustave Courbet’s distinctive and symbolic La Mer Orageuse from the artist’s celebrated wave series, which sold for $536,000 (estimate $500/700,000) and John Atkinson Grimshaw’s atmospheric depiction of the English countryside A Yorkshire Home, which achieved $437,5000 (estimate $350/500,000). The sale also established new auction records for Jules-Émile Saintin among others.

Amanda Bass
+1 212 606 7176
Derek Parsons
+1 212 606 7176

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's