Results from New York: Botticelli’s “Man of Pain” at Sotheby’s

SThe competition between three determined telephone bidders lasted seven minutes until the hammer fell at $39.3 million in Sotheby’s New York auction room, applause erupted and Sandro Botticelli’s “Man of Pain” was sold. With premium, the new owner pays 45.4 million. That’s less than half of the $92.2 million gross that Botticelli’s accommodating “Young Man with a Medallion” fetched for the auction house almost exactly a year ago: The young man remains the undisputed leader in the ranking of the most expensive works Old Masters that Sotheby’s has ever sold.

Botticelli’s enigmatic portrait of Christ, on the other hand, a late work created around 1500, just about fulfilled the expectations at the “Masters Week Sale”: The panel painting was estimated at over 40 million dollars (FAZ from January 22). It was backed by a guarantee. With the bid in New York, the “Schmerzensmann” achieved the second-highest auction result for an Old Master in the past five years. It had been in a private collection since 1963, for which it was purchased for $28,000.

Possibly a princess: Artemisia Gentileschi's


Possibly a princess: Artemisia Gentileschi’s “Portrait of a Seated Woman”, 1593, oil on canvas, 130.2 by 98.1 centimeters, sold for 2.2 million dollars
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Image: Sotheby`s

Overall, the “Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I” auction had a net turnover of a good 76.74 million dollars, which was made up of 41 hammer prices in 57 lots. Eight lots were secured by bidders in the hall, five won by online bidders.

This 80 centimeter high Egyptian sandstone sculpture was sold to applause for 8.4 million dollars.


This 80 centimeter high Egyptian sandstone sculpture was sold to applause for 8.4 million dollars.
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Image: Sotheby`s

Another highlight of the auction was an 80 centimeter high, 4,500-year-old Egyptian sandstone sculpture that was found in a tomb near the Cheops pyramid. After a long bidding war, again to applause, the statuette of a standing man was sold for $8.4 million, well above the estimate of $3 million to $5 million. This makes it one of the most expensive antiquities from Egypt ever auctioned and has moved from an American private collection to a private foundation.

The Italian baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who was represented with two paintings, was also above the million mark. Her Portrait of a Seated Lady, possibly depicting Caterina Savello, Princess of Albano, fetched $2.2 million (estimate 2/3 million); her painting “Susanna und die Alten” achieved a hammer price of 1.75 million (1.8/2.5 million). His estimate of 2 to 3 million was significantly better than a Diogenes painting by Pieter van Mol, which rose to 4.8 million: a record for the artist. However, Giovanni Bellini’s “Philips Madonna”, estimated at 3 to 5 million dollars, was not sold.

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