Christie’s 19th Century European Art sales take place in London (King Street and South Kensington), New York, Amsterdam, and Paris. The field offers a variety of price points, technical virtuosity and appealing subject matter, reflecting the extraordinary diversity which characterizes one of the most pivotal periods in art history. Its diverse schools and styles range from traditional genre to early modernism, and encompass themes which stretch from the glamour of the urban Belle Époque to the exoticism of the Orientalists.
Christie’s holds the world record price at auction for any continental European painting in this category, achieved with the sale of Théodore Géricault’s Portrait of Elisabeth and Alfred de Dreux (€9,025,000) at the landmark auction of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Collection in Paris in February 2009. Top prices achieved since then include Franz von Stuck’s Symbolist Hercules and the Hydra which sold for a record £505,875 in London in May 2013; Giovanni Boldini’s Portrait of Marthe Régnier, which sold in New York in October 2011 for $1,875,000; and €901,000 for Frederick Bridgman’s Orientalist masterpiece, The Ceremony of the Aissaoui at Blida, set in Paris in June 2013.
In Amsterdam, Christie’s is the only international auction house to hold sales in the category, with a particular focus on works by Dutch Romantic and Impressionist artists. Recent results include View of the Rokin in Amsterdam by Cornelis Springer, which sold for €400,000 in May 2013, and The parrotman by Isaac Israels, which sold for €289,500 in May this year. Finally, our South Kensington saleroom offers to buyers the chance to acquire a wide range of works in the middle market, and to consigners a truly global sale platform available nowhere else at this price-point.
The appeal of this market segment has continued to grow geographically, with new price levels achieved for artists traditionally prized at a national level. For example, Alfred de Dreux’s equestrian portrait, Guerrier Ottoman à Cheval, sold in London in November 2013 for £458,000 to a Middle Eastern collector, directly underbid by a client from China. Typically, 19th Century European Painting sales attract buyers from over 20 countries collectors increasingly coming from Asia, Russia and the Middle East.
In addition to our auctions, Christie's Private Sales offer the flexibility and discretion to buy or sell works of art outside the auction framework. 2013 saw the largest ever number of private sales both within the 19th century department and the wider company. These are affected both by our specialists’ ability to match buyers and sellers, and on the back of international selling initiatives such as private sale tours in emerging markets such as China and Russia.
To learn more, visit christies.com/privatesales or contact Alexandra McMorrow at AMcMorrow@christies.com.