New York - Bonhams European Painting sale on November 6 saw Gyula Tornai's (1861-1928) The holy cleansing of the Samurai triple its estimate to achieve $137,000. Although he was born in Hungary, Tornai was heavily influenced by his time in Japan. There, he met Count Okuma Shigenobu, the former Prime Minister, through whom he was able to access aspects of Japanese society typically concealed from Europeans. The holy cleansing of the Samurai depicts a Samurai warrior in the act of 'Misogi,' a customary Shinto cleansing ritual performed to purify the body and mind. The thoughtful composition was the auction's cover lot.
In addition to the eager attendees, bidders in 29 countries participated live via the internet and on the telephones, with interest coming from the US, Europe, and East Asia. The top 10 lots were split between the room and the phones, with notable exceptions going to online bidders.
Additional highlights included An illicit letter by Vittorio Reggianini (1858-1939) which sold for $117,500. Reggianini became famous for elegant costume themes, which he rendered in spectacular detail and precision, treating his audience to the unparalleled opulence on full display in this sumptuous composition.
La Baie de Somme by Jean-Baptiste-Camille-Corot also impressed bidders, realising $112,500. Painted circa 1855-1860, the composition is a tender depiction of peasants and their cattle passing through a tranquil seaside meadow towards a rural village. The canvas has been documented with notable galleries and collections since 1893.
"We're very pleased with the results of the November 6 sale, which saw strong participation from a considerable group of new and established clients," said Madalina Lazen, Bonhams European Paintings Specialist.
Bonhams next European Paintings sale in New York will take place in May 2014.
For more information please visit www.bonhams.com
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com