Pissarro, Rembrandt & Piranesi Records at Swann Galleries
New York—At least a dozen auction records were set at Swann Galleries’ November 3 three-part sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints, Featuring Camille Pissarro: Impressionist Icon.
The sale was crowned by two master engravings by Albrecht Dürer: Knight, Death and the Devil, 1513, and Melencolia I, 1514, both realized $65,000.
With several phone bidders competing on consecutive lots, many works by Camille Pissarro soared past their previous records, most notably, the 1879 aquatint and etching Chemin sous bois à Pontoise, which realized $40,000*, more than doubling its standing record of $15,000. Similarly, the highest price paid previously for Rue Saint-Romain, à Rouen, 1ère planche was $7,576; on Thursday, the 1896 lithograph, printed in dark green, realized $30,000. Other records set for Pissarro included Paysage à l’Hermitage (Pontoise), 1880, and Chãteau de Busagny à Osny, 1887; both sold for $25,000.
Several prices for works by Old Master artist Rembrandt van Rijn achieved new heights. The 1641 etching and drypoint Cornelis Claesz Anslo, Preacher brought $60,000, while the jovial etching Self Portrait with Long, Bushy Hair: Head Only, circa 1631, realized $52,500. The third Rembrandt record was set by a 1653 etching and drypoint titled The Pancake Woman for $35,000.
Another record was set for an early work by Giovanni Piranesi from his iconic Carceri d'Invenzione series: The Round Tower, circa 1749, went for $52,500-100% of the nearly 20 works by the artist found buyers.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century works also performed well, with many online winners. A new auction record was set for a scarce 1932 lithograph by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, Fruits of Labor, which realized $30,000. Another highlight was James A.M. Whistler’s 1878 lithograph Nocturne, which sold to an institution for $50,000.
Todd Weyman, Swann Galleries Vice President and Director of Prints & Drawings, said, “We were delighted to see competitive bidding on important early Rembrandt portraits and Dürer’s masterworks, as well as iconic prints like Whistler’s Nocturne leading the sale, showing the increasingly discerning market.”
Image: Lot 158 Rembrandt van Rijn, Cornelis Claesz Anslo, Preacher, etching and drypoint, 1641. Sold November 3, 2016 for $60,000, and auction record for the print. (Pre-sale estimate: $25,000 to $35,000)