ART MARKET / Up for sale

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The Independent Culture
OLD MASTER paintings bought in the boom years are coming back on the market at bargain prices. In a series of sales, Christie's is dispersing a massive property from Japan, said to belong to a Mr Ishizuka. I am told there are 90 paintings involved; they include the El Greco Disrobing of Christ which made him a loss of around pounds 1m when it sold for pounds 1.87m in May, and the Georges la Tour Hurdy-gurdy Player which the Prado picked up for the same price in December. There are lots more lots in Friday's sale.

The 7 ft 'David with the Head of Goliath' by Guido Reni has hung on loan at the National Gallery in London since it was sold by Sotheby's in 1985 for pounds 2.2m. It is said to belong to Frederick Koch, the American oil millionaire, who has a huge art collection at Sutton Place, near Guildford, Surrey. Sotheby's expect him to make a loss; they estimate it will make between pounds 1.6m and pounds 2.2m.

The snip that has caused most talk among dealers is the 'Annunciation' by Arcangelo di Cola da Camerino. It sold for dollars 1.1m in New York in January 1990 and the Japanese owner is prepared to accept half that price this time round. It is estimated at pounds 300,000- pounds 500,000.

Boucher's red and white chalk 'Study of a Young Girl Reclining' is the epitome of 18th-century sensuality. It cost pounds 286,000 at Sotheby's in 1987 but their experts are only estimating between pounds 160,000 and pounds 180,000 this week. It belongs to a collector in the property business.

Jacob Cuyp's charming portrait of Maria Strik van Scharlaken, the three-year-old daughter of a rich Dutch merchant, feeding her lambs was painted in 1650; it cost pounds 242,000 at Christie's in 1989 and is estimated to fetch pounds 200,000- pounds 250,000 this week. The portrait is one of the group of pictures coming back from Japan.

The loss that Christie's are forecasting on this Titian 'Saint Mary Magdalen in Penitence' is so substantial that they have not dared to publish an estimate. It made dollars 2.64m in June 1989; the talk is of getting pounds 800,000- pounds 1m this time.

(Photograph omitted)

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