Rembrandt and Miro raise millions at Sotheby’s virtual auction

LONDON (AP) – A Rembrandt self-portrait sold for £ 14.5 million ($ 18.7 million) in a virtual Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday, a record price for a self-portrait by the Dutch master, the auctioneer said.

Sotheby’s said the top end of the art market was “in poor health” and that its new live-streaming auction format, introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, generated a total of $ 192.7 million on Tuesday.

Six bidders searched for the “Self-Portrait with a Ruff and a Black Hat”, from 1632 when Rembrandt was 26 years old. It was within the estimated 12 to 16 million pounds. Rembrandt’s last self-portrait to appear at auction sold for £ 6.9 million in 2003, Sotheby’s added.

The painting sold Tuesday was one of the painter’s three self-portraits that remained in private hands, and “the only one that is likely to be auctioned.” It measures approximately 22 by 16 centimeters, or approximately 8 by 6 inches.

The sale was part of a global auction streamed live with dozens of works of art spanning five centuries of art history, from Rembrandt to Picasso, and from Joan Miró to Banksy. The event saw staff at the auction house’s offices in New York, London and Hong Kong furiously gesturing and whispering on the phones as bidders competed to outdo each other.

The best-selling item was 1927’s Miró (Woman with a Red Hat) “Peinture (Femme au chapeau rouge)”, which fetched £ 22.3 million ($ 28.9 million). Sotheby’s said the painting, which went up for auction for the first time since 1966, set the highest selling price in Europe so far this year.

The sale also includes a triptych by elusive street artist Banksy called “Mediterranean Sea View,” painted in 2017. Featured in elaborate traditional frames, it features seascapes dotted with orange life jackets and hints at lives lost at sea during the crisis. of European immigration. The paintings fetched £ 2.2m, almost double the highest estimated price, and the proceeds go to raise funds for a hospital in Bethlehem.

Helena Newman, president of Sotheby’s Europe, said the wide range of art for sale caters to “a new generation of collectors (who) show less concern for the traditional categories of the art market of the past.”

“With the change in the world calendar of world art, we have also taken the opportunity to do things differently,” he said.

Sotheby’s London said that about two-thirds of the works for sale had never been auctioned before. Of the rest, most had been off the market for two decades.

Five works sold for more than $ 10 million. That included a bronze sculpture of a female figure by Alberto Giacometti, which fetched £ 10.7 million ($ 13.8 million), doubling the estimated price.