El Greco’s Saint Francis and Brother Leo in Meditation, from the Collection of Stanford Z. Rothschild, Jr., sold for £6,871,250

El Greco leads Classic Week sales in London

Classic Week in London totals £54,197,621, with Saint Francis and Brother Leo in Meditation becoming the second highest price paid for a work by El Greco at auction

The December 2017 Classic Week  sales at Christie’s London collectively realised £54,197,621 / $72,571,772 / €61,463,718, selling 86 per cent by value and 76 per cent by lot overall. 

Featuring strong online participation, the 17 live and online sales saw 1,472 lots bought and attracted a 57 per cent increase in registered bidders on the 2016 series. The global appeal of the series was demonstrated by the fact that bidders came from 63 countries, up 19 per cent on December 2016. 

Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863), Le 28 juillet — la liberté guidant le peuple, 1830, painted circa 1830. 25⅜ x 32  in (64.5 x 81.3  cm). Sold for £3,128,750 on 14 December 2017  at Christie’s in London

Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863), Le 28 juillet — la liberté guidant le peuple, 1830, painted circa 1830. 25⅜ x 32 in (64.5 x 81.3 cm). Sold for £3,128,750 on 14 December 2017 at Christie’s in London

More than 18,000 visitors came to Christie’s King Street HQ to view superb pieces spanning Japanese Works of Art, the Decorative Arts, Antiquities, Old Masters, Books and Manuscripts, Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist Art, 19th-Century European & Orientalist Art, Australian Art and Topographical Pictures, along with The Astor Collection from Tillypronie, Aberdeenshire. For full results from all the auctions in the series, click on the sale links below.

The top lot of the series was El Greco’s Saint Francis and Brother Leo in Meditation, from the Collection of Stanford Z. Rothschild, Jr., which sold for £6,871,250 / $9,186,861 / €7,785,126, becoming the second highest price for the artist at auction. 

Further highlights included Le 28 juillet — la liberté guidant le peuple, 1830 by Eugène Delacroix, which realised £3,128,750 — more than three times its high estimate — and the long-lost copy of Darwin’s sheets of the third edition of On the Origin of Species  with autograph revisions, which sold for £788,750 (estimate: £300,000-500,000). The Astor Collection from Tillypronie, Aberdeenshire  totalled £3,748,750 / $5,030,204 / €4,259,903, selling 99 per cent by value and 96 per cent by lot.