Giambattista Tiepolo's The Arrival of Henry III painting tops $51.8m Old Masters auctions

Christie's Old Master week results have been totalled up and posted at a highly impressive $51.8m.

This includes the Art of France auction which brought $10m led by a Fragonard painting at $3.7m, and of course the Frans Hals portrait owned by Elizabeth Taylor, which doubled its estimate to bring $2.1m - despite once having been doubted as being by the artist at all.

Wednesday's Old Master painting I, which featured the Frans Hals and made up the lion's share of the overall total, did not have it as the top lot.

In fact that Frans Hals was the fifth most expensive lot. It was beaten by two very familiar knight of the realm: Rubens and Van Dyck.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens's work The Assumption of the Virgin sold in the middle of its listing for $2.4m, whilst Sir Anthony van Dyck's evocative work Roaring Stallion brought $2.5m, sold to a US collector.

Arrival Henri III Villa Contarini Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
The Arrival of Henri III at Villa Contarini by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Giambattista Tiepolo's masterpiece The Arrival of Henry III at the Villa Contarini was, as expected, the top lot.

The much written about work, until recently the property of Robert H and Clarice Smith, (and having the more dubious distinction of once having been owned by Hermann Goering) sold for near the top of its $4m-6m listing at $5.9m.

Nicholas Hall, Co-Chairman of Old Masters & 19th Century Art, commented:

"The Old Master Paintings sales saw success across a wide variety of genres including 18th century Italian views, the Dutch golden age, Flemish Baroque, as well as French Rococo, as demonstrated by Fragonard and Watteau.

"We are particularly pleased with prices achieved for the rediscovered or reattributed works in the sale by Gerrit Dou, Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Thomas de Keyser, and the Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals from the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor. Additionally, between the two sales today [Old Masters I and Art of France], eleven paintings sold in excess of $1m."

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