Saint Peter makes over ten times the estimate
An oil painting of Saint Peter attributed to Domenikos Theotokopoulos, better known as El Greco, sold for £791,650 against a pre-sale estimate of £40,000 – 60,000 at Bonhams yesterday, 5th December 2012.
Bidders on the phone and in a packed saleroom entered a tense battle for the striking work, which made over ten times the pre-sale estimate. Other pieces in the sale, which realized a total of £2 million, also exceeded their estimates with a portrait of a gentleman by Dutch painter Jacob Adriaensz Backer selling for £103,250 against an estimate of £20,000 – 30,000.
Certain stylistic features in the Saint Peter painting, such as the painter's three-dimensional and naturalistic handling of the figure are comparable to works that El Greco painted in his late Roman and early Spanish period.
Andrew McKenzie, Director of Old Master Paintings said, "The painting was a totally new discovery on our part which was the result of our extensive research. Owing to the notorious difficulties in distinguishing between those authentic works that can be absolutely verified to be by El Greco and workshop variants, we attributed the painting to the artist in our catalog description with an appropriately cautious estimate. However, the enthusiasm we received both prior to and during the sale was a resounding endorsement of this attribution and we are delighted with the outcome."
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 appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com