Rediscovered Claude Lorrain masterpiece realises $8.2m record


2015-06-26 13:33:16


Rediscovered Claude Lorrain masterpiece realises $8.2m record

A rediscovered masterpiece by old master Claude Lorrain highlighted Christie's in London

A recently rediscovered masterpiece by influential landscape artist Claude Lorrain has sold at the top of Christie's Old Masters & British Paintings Evening Sale, setting a new world record for the artist.

Claude Lorrain Mediterranean portThe work was known to scholars, but has not been seen for a generation

The sale took place on December 3 in London, offering a prime selectionof pieces. Lorrain's work, not unrecorded but unavailable to scholars since the late 19th century, sold for 5m ($8.2m) to become the highest valued example of the artist's work.

Entitled A Mediterranean port at sunrise with the Embarkation of Saint Paula for Jerusalem, the piece was exhibited at the Royal Academy in the early 20th centuryand has not been seen by the public since then.

Commissioned by Cardinal Domenic Cecchini in the 17th century, it was eventually acquired by English retailer and collector WH Smith, and has been in the Smithcollection at Hambledon Manor ever since.

Various copies have been brought forward for examination as the original composition, though this is the authentic autograph version.

The market for works by Frenchman Lorrain (1600-1682) is strong, as demonstrated in Christie's January auction of Old Master and Early British Drawings, which saw a pen and ink landscape sell for $6.1m - a 666.3% increase on its $800,000 high estimate.

Rembrandt Man with SwordRemoving old varnish from the painting revealed Rembrandt's signature, confirming the piece as an original

In total, the present auction realised 21.8m, with 10 artist records set. The second highest bids of the sale were seen by Rembrandt's Man with a Sword, 1644, which made 2.5m ($4.1m).

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