Collectors will be aware that the art market is in a strong position, especially at the top end, with Old Masters being in great demand. So perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that the $36,671,625 (£23,209,889/€26,767,609) auction set a selection of world record prices.
The top two record-breakers were:
Melchior d'Hondecoeter's (1636-1695) oil on canvas work, A Peacock, A Peahen, A Monkey and Other Birds on a Terrace more than doubled its $400,000-600,000 listing to achieve a $1,650,500 bid from a European collector.
This beat the previous record set by another of the artist's characteristic (and literally titled) bird paintings: A Grey and White Crested Goose, a Shoveler, a Muscovy Duck, Goslings, Ducklings and other Fowl in a Park, Elegant Buildings Beyond, which brought £541,250 ($855,325) at Christie's London sale in December.
The overall top lot, however, was View of the Molo, Venice, looking West, by d'Hondecoeter's contemporary Luca Carlevarijs which left the rest of the sale standing when it brought $4,002,500 (as Christie's accurately predicted in their estimate).
This narrowly beat the previous record which was for a closely related work: Venice, a view of the Molo with the Doge's Palace looking west towards the Zecca and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute in the distance, which sold at Sotheby's in 2005 for £2,248,000 ($3,957,746).
Nicholas Hall, International Co-Head, and Ben Hall, Head of Department, Old Master & 19th Century Art, commented:
"Our results illustrate the broadening appeal of this category, both in terms of buying interest and buyer geographies. There was great diversity to the works that achieved top prices today - from Bosschaert's jewel-like 17th century still life to Gerome's stunning 19th century Orientalist portrait, Master of the Hounds.
"Our buying audience proved to be equally diverse, with clients from South America, Russia, and Asia bidding alongside buyers from Europe and the United States.
"Online buying proved more popular than ever for this category, and we noted an online sale of Joseph Wright of Derby's portrait for $962,500 - the second most expensive painting ever sold via Christie's LIVE.
"Overall, buying remained selective in spots, but we are gratified by the strong prices achieved for Luca Carlevarijs, Pompeo Batoni, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Edward Lear and Jean Léon Gérôme, which demonstrate the depth and continued enthusiasm collectors have for this expanded category."
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