Bach's Six Partitas achieves 52.5% increase at Sotheby's

An extremely rare first edition copy of Bach's Six Partitas for Keyboard has sold with excellent results as part of the auction of investment banker Andre Meyer's estate.

The two-day sale, which is being held in Paris by Sotheby's, began yesterday (October 16) and will close today with a previously unknown manuscript from Beethoven expected to highlight.

Johann Bach six partitas first edition
Bach has been remarkably popular at auction in 2012

Bach's Six Partitas for Keyboard was the first part of his renowned Clavier-Ubung, which he personally published in several sections between 1726 and 1730. They are the first of his works to be published under his own direction and also the last keyboard suites that he ever composed. A further three books complete the Clavier-Ubung series.

The first edition of the Partitas at auction is one of just six known complete copies to have survived, as well as one of the finest to have been offered for sale in recent years. This edition contains the imprint of Rosine Dorothee, daughter of the bookseller JT Boetius, with whom the work was sold. Dorothee was the wife of Johann Gottfried, who provided the title page engraving for Clavier-Ubung I. This feature is removed in subsequent copies, increasing the present example's appeal.

Against a €100,000-150,000 ($129,000-194,000) estimate, the work sold for an impressive €228,750 ($369,611), achieving a 52.5% increase in value from the high valuation. The current record for Bach's work at auction was set in June this year, when a manuscript of one of his cantatas sold for $544,856 at Christie's.

portrait of Bach doubled its pre-sale estimate at an auction in Philadelphia earlier this week.

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