The market for Old Masters continues to impress, with Sotheby’s 25 January sale of drawings, paintings and sculpture netting a total of $31.8m.
Highlight of the sale was a newly discovered work by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Study of a Horse with a Rider had previously been ascribed to a follower of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, but its true provenance was obscured by layers of overpainting and additional background that had been added after its original completion.
With the removal these additions, the canvas was revealed to have all the indications of the oil sketches for which Rubens is famous.
The painting sold for a shade under $5.1m, against a high estimate of $1.5m.
Said Christopher Apostle, head of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department in New York: ‘This evening we saw exceptional prices for several exceptional pictures – this market understands and appreciates a masterpiece when it sees one.
‘That applies both to famed artists like Rubens and Botticelli, who continue to attract a global audience, as well as names celebrated among connoisseurs like Drost and de Coster, both of whom saw new auction records set.
‘We had strong private bidding across our field, including participation from Asian and Russian collectors, with Dutch 17th-century pictures, early Italian, and Flemish works performing particularly well.’