More than half of the $76.5m that changed hands last night at Sotheby’s Old Masters auction in London came from the sale of just one painting. Francesco Guardi’s “Venice” sold for $42,865,102, bettering its high estimate by more than $2m. The price set a world record not just for the artist, but also for any work of art sold at auction this year. Sotheby’s total for the event was $76,492,229, just under the high estimate for the night.
The result, after a strong sale at Christie’s the previous evening, demonstrated the strength and resiliency of the Old Masters market. The record-breaking Guardi is considered one of the artist’s greatest works as well as the most significant of his paintings to come to auction since 1989. Seven other artist records were established at the Sotheby’s auction, which included strong sales for works by Correggio, Hans Schaufelein, Anthony Van Dyck, John Constable and Pieter Breughel the Younger.
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