World Record Price for De Nittis Painting at Bonhams New York

A new world record was achieved when a rare work by the Italian artist Giuseppe de Nittis soared past its estimate of $200/300,000 and sold for an astounding $1,133,000 at Bonhams’ October 21st European Paintings auction in New York. Depicting a couple riding along Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Elysées on horseback, the work sparked a session of spirited bidding from buyers both in Europe and the United States.

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Also of great interest to bidders were two works by Eugen von Blaas (Austrian, 1843-1931). The Love Letter (1897) which depicts two young women chatting, one having received the titular love letter, is exemplary of the artist’s work and brought $242,000. The artist’s 1911 painting, Lovelorn, also sold well fetching $176,000.

A work titled, Odalisque, by Charles Amable Lenoir (French, 1861-1940) generated excited bidding both on the phones and in the room. Greatly surpassing expectations, the painting fetched $73,200, more than double its estimate of $20/30,000.

Another work to outperform was The Frightened Horse by Wouterus Verschuur (Dutch 1812-1874). Primarily a painter of equestrian scenes, the realistic work clearly shows Verschuur’s delight in capturing the power and beauty of working horses while also displaying the artist’s dexterity in rendering various surfaces and textures and his ability to capture the frenetic movement found throughout the scene. Estimated at $25/35,000, the painting sparked a round of competitive bidding, resulting in a final price of $70,150.

A work by Ferdinand Victor Léon Roybet (French, 1840-1920) also exceeded its estimate. Specializing in costume pictures throughout his career, Roybet’s work often depicted musketeers, cavaliers and elegant ladies. Titled, A Difficult Choice, the painting offered includes all of these elements and perfectly demonstrates the artist’s virtuoso brushwork and use of vibrant, saturated colors. Carrying an estimate of $20/30,000 the lot neatly outperformed, bringing $46,360.

Also performing well was a painting by Paul Dominique Phillippoteaux (French, 1845-1923) titled Figures in a boat on the Nile. Given by the artist to the Laroussini family of New Orleans, the painting has remained in the family until its sale by the present owner. Estimated at $20/30,000, the work fetched $39,040.

Dramatically exceeding expectations was a picture by artist Vaclav Radimsky (Czech, 1867-1946). The oil on canvas titled, On the Seine, touched off a bidding war resulting in a final price of $29,890- nearly four times its top estimate of $8,000.

“It is clear from the strong results that the 19th century European market is the first to show signs of recovery,” stated Director of European Paintings for Bonhams New York, Deborah Coy. “Today’s sale saw strong bidding across all of the price bands, from both the U.S. and abroad, and clearly puts Bonhams into the forefront in this category.”

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