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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Goya & Wattaeu World Record Auction Prices

Christie’s of London reported some record breaking sales yesterday for art that had been long lost. First, three sketches by the Spanish master Francisco Goya sold for more than $8 million. The sketches had been “lost” for about 130 years. I don’t believe lost is the right word, these sketches were last auctioned off in 1877 and were sold yesterday by a private Swiss collection. The term lost probably means that they were kept in the same family for all those years. The sketches were in exceptional condition and were part of the Goya’s private albums.

Of the three sketches, the one titled Down They Come brought in the most money at about $4.5 million, which is a record for a Goya work on paper. Repentance came in second with about $1.9 million and The Constable Lampinos Stitched Inside a Dead Horse came in at about $1.5 million. Pre-sale estimates had all three bringing in a total of $2 million; imagine everyone’s surprise when just one brought in more than double that amount.

Later yesterday, a painting by French artist Jean Antoine Watteau, which had been missing of for about 200 years, sold for a record $12.4 million. The painting titled La Surprise is an oil on panel measuring about 14 inches. This painting was truly lost in the sense that the owners did not know that it was the original. They were stunned to find out that the painting they thought was a copy was the real thing.

The painting, which was done in 1718, was found by a Christie’s specialist in the corner of cottage room. as he was going through the contents of the cottage for auction estimates. The record price was three times what the experts expected to get for the painting that featured a musician with a guitar and two lovers. The last documented auction for this painting had been in 1801 and was bequeathed in 1848.

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