International Art Market: Super-rich tempted by Victorian values

VICTORIAN pictures tempted the super rich into the sale room last month. At Christie's, a vast Landseer painting of deer was bid to pounds 793,500 by Camilla Braka, the picture dealer, who is reputed to have bought the nine foot painting on behalf of her father, Duncan Davidson.

A highly successful property tycoon, Davidson is a keen sportsman which would explain the appeal of the Scene in Braemar, a painting reminiscent of the Monarch of the Glen - the famous Landseer of a stag on a Scottish mountain which is reproduced on Dewar's whisky labels.

The artist was Queen Victoria's favourite and specialised in animal paintings. At Sotheby's, Lord Leighton's four foot Greek Girls Picking Up Pebbles By The Sea - their classical robes flutter exotically in the wind - sold for pounds 881,500 to a telephone bidder. At the London end the bidding was conducted in Italian while Sotheby's described the purchaser as a 'US private buyer'. It is thought in the art trade that it was bought by a Mexican millionairess who has a penchant for sale-room buys - she spent pounds 1.65m on Alma-Tadema's Roses of Heliogabalus, a vast banqueting scene inundated by pink roses, at Christie's last June.

The Landseer and the Leighton both sold marginally below the auctioneers' predictions which suggests that the bidding only just scraped past the owners' reserve prices. At these price levels it is still hard to predict whether buyers will turn up on the day, despite some recovery from the worst days of recession.

Both auctioneers had difficulty moving more run-of-the-mill pictures; 30 per cent of the paintings at Sotheby's and 36 per cent of those at Christie's were left unsold.

The first major Old Masters to turn up in the Paris salerooms this year, a Canaletto view of a procession of boats on the Thames near Westminster Bridge and a big village scene by Pieter Breughel the Younger, illustrating Flemish proverbs, both proved to be overpriced for the market when they were offered at an Ader-Tajan auction last week.

The Canaletto ran out of bids at Fr9.5m ( pounds 1.1m) where the owners were looking for at least Fr10m; the Breughel had been estimated at Fr4m-6m and secured a genuine bid of Fr4.9m ( pounds 590,400) which should have sold it. The owner, however, had decided on the morning of the sale that he wanted at least Fr5m and the auctioneers had to buy the painting back for him.

In the applied arts field, the sensation of the month was the sale of Art Nouveau and Art Deco furnishings from Barbra Streisand's collection at Christie's in New York. Private collectors were prepared to pay over the odds for a memento of the singer and film star, and a Tiffany leaded glass cobweb lamp attracted a bid of dollars 717,500 ( pounds 481,544).

The gradual return of Japanese buyers for the great glassmakers of Nancy, Galle and Daum, is, however, a buoyant feature of this market. Sotheby's sold a Galle cameo vase, with blue wisteria blossoms on a yellow backround, to Japan for dollars 60,250 ( pounds 40,370) against an estimate of dollars 35,000- dollars 45,000.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before