Painting Sourced in Australia Sets New World Record for Artist Adriaen Coorte at Bonhams

A Lost Masterpiece by Adriaen Coorte Sells for £2.1Million

A painting of Three peaches on a stone ledge with a Painted Lady butterfly, which was sourced from Melbourne, Australia sold for £2.1million on Wednesday 7th December 2011 in the Old Master Paintings auction at Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London, smashing its pre-sale estimate of £300,000-500,000 and setting a new record price for the Dutch artist Adriaen Coorte.

This previously unrecorded painting was spotted by Bonhams' Senior Specialist, Dalia Stanley in Sydney. After being identified by Caroline Oliphant, Specialist at Bonhams' Old Masters Department in London, the attribution was confirmed by Dr. Quentin Buvelot and Fred Meijer of the RKD. The painting has been in the one family for over 150 years, believed to have been purchased in Europe by the owner's great grandfather. It came to Australia from Europe with the family in 1956. Its owners "left it alone, hanging in a cool dry corner away from the light. It was just part of the family history."

Its discovery is an interesting addition to Coorte's oeuvre. It belongs to a group of still lifes, all undated, which are signed with initials only. Compositionally this group is very close to another recently discovered painting, of 1693, which allows a dating of 1693-95 for the Bonhams picture and the rest of the initialed group. Adriaen Coorte (c.1665-1707) was an artist in the Golden Age of Dutch painting known for his intimate still life works. His paintings are also known for their meticulous detail and beautiful handling of light.

Andrew McKenzie, Head of the Old Master Department in Bonhams, London, comments, "The large number of connoisseurs of seventeenth century Dutch still lifes that I spoke to said this was the best example of Coorte's work that they had ever seen. It is fantastic that the price it fetched reflects this."


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

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