The Old Masters auctions begin in New York. Record-breaking Velázquez retired

After archiving the evaluation results for 2023, the global art market starts again with the old masters. In fact, the major Old Masters auctions take place between the end of January and the beginning of February Sotheby's And Christie's in New York. And a rare work of his has disappeared from the Big Apple's catalogs Diego Velazquez (1599-1660) valued at over $35 million.

Velázquez's Queen was auctioned off and then withdrawn

A portrait of the Spanish Queen Isabella of Bourbon by Diego Velázquez was actually one of the most important works in the catalogs of the Masters week at Sotheby's in New York. The week dedicated to the great masters of art history, running from January 26 to February 3, 2024, was instead skipped without the masterpiece, which was discreetly withdrawn by the English house, apparently due to internal disagreements within the selling party. The work, scheduled to be auctioned on February 1, was expected to be the artist's most significant work to appear on the market in the last fifty years, with record valuations of over $35 million, about double the current price Auction record equals $16.9 million.

The rare Velázquez painting in the catalog at Sotheby's

In fact, there are only a few of the artist's works on the market, and even fewer exhibit the quality and condition of this portrait of Isabella of Spain from the late 1620s. Possibly associated as a counterpart to the work of Philip IV, now in the collections of the Prado Museum in Madrid and owned by an American family foundation since 1978, the work has been withdrawn “Ongoing disputes” among the sellers and thus disappeared from the online auction catalogs. A “temporary break in the sales process”, as shared by Sotheby's and reported by The Art Newspaper. And given the enthusiasm that both the house and the… Mister They will wait for a more opportune time to suggest it again in the near future.

Anthony Van Dyck, portrait of Willem Hondius.  Courtesy of Christie's Images Limited 2023
Anthony Van Dyck, portrait of Willem Hondius. Courtesy of Christie's Images Limited 2023

How is the market for Old Masters developing?

Meanwhile, the Old Masters market, i.e. the old masters of art history before Impressionism, performed well in 2023, despite only accounting for 10% of the art market's global sales, according to Artprice. And while in 2023, according to the latest ArtTactic report, the value of contemporary art fell with an exchange of 1.79 billion, -12.8% compared to over 2 billion in 2022, the great masters sector remained better on track Compared to 2022, it only lost about 5%. It was led by some great auction wins led by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijne and, even more unexpectedly, Michiel Sweerts.
And even if Diego Velázquez doesn't reopen the art market in the new year, we'll be waiting to see Peter Paul Rubens on the Sotheby's stage (Self-portrait of the artist as a young manEstimate 3-5 million US dollars) and Anthony van Dyck (Self-portrait with mustache pointing upwards and left hand raised, estimate $2-3 million). As well as, at Christie's, Anthony van Dyck (Portrait of Willem Hondiusestimate $800,000-$1.2 million), with Giambologna (MarsEstimate 7-10 million US dollars) and Tiepolo (A bearded man in a turbanestimated $700,000 to $1 million) and all the allure that the great masterpieces that global auction houses in New York have to offer.

Cristina Marutscho

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