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Renewed interest in some Old Masters

January 25, 2008|From Bloomberg News

NEW YORK -- New York's Metropolitan Museum and oil scion Gordon Getty were among the sellers of Old Master artworks Thursday at Sotheby's, which topped its estimates on some of the most expensive works as the stock market rallied.

The session at Sotheby's was part of a series of sales featuring works by Donatello, Titian and other pre-19th century artists. It was expected to total as much as $100 million, about the same as last year's estimate for the January sales.

Getty's "Bernardo Bellotto," an 18th century oil vista of Venice's Grand Canal, had a high estimate of $1.2 million; it fetched $1.9 million before the commission. Still, at least four works priced at $1 million or more failed to sell.

Among the unsold lots: a still life by Jan Brueghel the Elder and an allegorical painting by Jacopo Tintoretto, both with $3 million estimates; a Claude Lorrain landscape valued at as much as $2 million, and a Jacob Jordaens painting of peasants with a $1.5-million high value.

A 1505 German gothic sculpture of St. Catherine fetched $5.6 million from a telephone buyer. It carried a top estimate of $6 million. The wood carving by Tilman Riemenschneider was sold by the Scherman Foundation.

Titian's "Penitent Mary Magdalene," an oil painting of the biblical former prostitute, was valued at up to $6 million and sold to a phone buyer for $4 million, the low estimate.

Donatello's 1450-60 "San Felice Madonna," a terra-cotta sculpture named for the Florentine church where it was once installed, had a high valuation of $4 million. Only the second Donatello to come to auction, according to Sotheby's, it sold for $5 million to a phone bidder.

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