At Sotheby’s: Zoffany and Joseph Wright

Posted in Art Market by Editor on December 12, 2011

Press release from Sotheby’s:

Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale, L11036
Sotheby’s, London, 7 December 2011

Johann Zoffany, The Garden at Hampton House
with Mr. and Mrs. David Garrick Taking Tea, 1762.

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Sotheby’s London Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale realised a total of £20,074,500/ $31,364,399/ €23,437,051, comfortably within the pre-sale estimate of £17.6 – 24.2 million. The top lot of the sale was a pair of paintings by Johann Zoffany – the most important works by the artist to appear on the market in recent years – The Garden at Hampton House, with Mr and Mrs David Garrick Taking Tea and The Shakespeare Temple at Hampton House, which fetched £6,761,250/$10,563,777/ €7,893,784 (pre-sale estimate of £6-8 million). . . .

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Characterizing the auction as “a little subdued,” Bendor Grosvenor reports at Art History News that the two paintings were acquired by the Garrick Club:

The buyer was the Garrick Club, and the pictures will hang alongside their pre-eminent collection of theatrical portraits, including numerous Zoffanys. This is splendid news for the preservation of English heritage, for there was a risk the pictures could have been sold overseas. . . .

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Also up for sale was Joseph Wright’s 1779 painting Virgil’s Tomb by Moonlight (Lot 37). Estimated to sell for £600,000-800,000, it roughly doubled that, fetching just under £1.5 million.

To be sure, along with these British highlights, the evening belonged to Jan Steen, whose Interior with Figures Playing Cards at a Table established a new auction record for the artist. At £4.8 million, it was a strong price, though still toward the low end of the estimate (£4.5-6million).

More information on the painting is available at Art Daily.org.

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For more information on the pair of paintings by Zoffany, see the original announcement from Sotheby’s (5 September 2011). From the press release:

Sotheby’s announced the sale of the two most important works by Johann Zoffany to appear on the market in recent years. Both commissioned by David Garrick, Britain’s greatest actor, they depict him with his family and friends in the garden of his house on the banks of the river Thames at Hampton. Painted in 1762 they have only appeared once on the open market, when they were sold in 1823 from Garrick’s estate, and have descended in the family of a distinguished private collection ever since. From 2007 until 2010 the paintings hung together on loan at Tate Britain, in London, and have been requested as highlights for the forthcoming retrospective of Zoffany’s work at the Royal Academy later this year. They will be offered together as part of Sotheby’s Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale on 7th December 2011 with an estimate of £6-8 million. (more…)

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