Christie’s worst Old Master sale since 2002


Detail of Caravaggio's A boy peeling fruit

Christie’s New York 28 January Old Master sale achieved a disappointing result of $9.1 million, under a quarter of its pre-sale high-end estimate of $39 million.

It was the worst result of a January Old Master sale since 2002 for the house, with 32 of 54 works on offer going unsold. According to dealer Salomon Lilian, who spoke to artnet News about the sale, “the estimates were just too high […] Many of these works were known to the market, having been shown previously at TEFAF.”

Works by artists such as Pieter Brueghel II, Guido Reni, Canaletto, Pieter Claesz, and Theodoor Rombouts failed to sell; even Boy Peeling a Fruit by Caravaggio failed to find a buyer, perhaps caused by recent speculation around its authenticity.

The most expensive works of the sale were a painting by Salomon Van Ruysdael entitled Skaters on the Frozen River Lek and the painting Mademoiselle Orleans taking a harp lesson by Jean Antoine Théodore Giroust, which sold for $1.4 million each.