Old Master painting to sell for £10m

The family that controls the 700 year-old Glyndebourne opera house is to sell an Old Master painting with an estimate of up to £10m.

St. John the Evangelist, by 17th century Italian artist Domenichino, will be offered by the Christie family and sold at Christie's the auctioneers - no relation - in London, in December.

The nine-foot-high Domenichino canvas depicts the author of one of the four Gospels poised over books supported by two angels. It was painted in the late 1620s by the Bolognese artist.

The painting be offered in Christie's December 8 sale of Old Masters and 19th century art.

The Christie family of Glyndebourne, East Sussex, has owned St. John the Evangelist for over 100 years. It is being sold to diversify the family's assets, said the auction house.

In the early 17th century, the painting was owned by Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani, an Italian collector who owned as many as 12 works by Caravaggio.

"This was a famous picture in the 18th century," said Paul Raison, Christie's London-based head of Old Masters, according to Bloomberg.

"It was mentioned in several Grand Tour guide books and it was copied by Fragonard. It definitely comes in the masterpiece category."

The work is the most valuable Old Master painting offered by Christie's since Raphael's Portrait of Lorenzo de Medici.

It had an estimate of between £10-15m in July 2007, and eventually sold to a telephone bidder for £18.5m with fees.

Bloomberg reports that highly priced works have been in short supply in salerooms since the end of 2008.

This was partly due to Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury abandoning the practice of guaranteeing minimum prices to sellers of valuable paintings as demand dropped.

Buyers and sellers have held back in the economic crisis, according to dealers.

Because of this, the Domenichino has not been guaranteed minimum price, Christie's said today.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£65,000
In stock