Joaquin Sorolla's 'Ninos' tops Sotheby's 19th century European paintings

Sotheby's May 23 auction of 19th century European paintings was led by Joaquin Sorolla's Ninos en la playa, which made £2.8m ($4.2m).

Sorolla art auction
Sorolla’s “spontaneous” beach scene Ninos en la playa

The sale represents the first time Ninos en la playa - a charming beach scene composed in 1916 - has ever appeared at auction.

Another Sorolla beach scene, Pescadores valencianos, currently holds the title of most valuable Sorolla artwork ever to sell at auction. It sold at Sotheby's in November 2012 for $3.7m ($5.5m), demonstrating the increased interest surrounding works by the Spanish artist.

Sorolla's granddaughter observed before the present sale: "It is extraordinary that Sorolla can capture on canvas something as difficult as the spontaneity of the moment which unfolds before him and imbue it with the emotional charge he feels."

Hammershoi paintings auction
Hammershoi’s haunting Interior with Stove (1909) (which failed to meet its reserve) and Ida in Interior with Piano (1901)

A signature interior by Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi also proved popular at the London sale.

Ida in an Interior with Piano sold for £1.1m ($1.7m) - the second highest price ever achieved by a Hammershoi at auction. His Ida Reading a Letter brought $2.7m to Sotheby's in June 2012.

Commenting on the auction, Sotheby's Adrian Biddell said: "The sale illustrated how the strength of the market lies in top quality works from across all fields.

"It was particularly strong in Spanish and Scandinavian works, Sorolla topping the bill."

According to Knight Frank's most recent Wealth Report, fine art values increased by 166% over the previous decade.

PFC Auctions, our sister site, is currently accepting bids on this hand-signed Pablo Picasso lithograph.

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