Two weeks ago, in the New York Times, Scott Reyburn made the pronouncement that “the art market, like pretty much everything else in our culture, has become all about the here and now”—a nod to how contemporary artists have overtaken the once-fashionable Old Masters on the auction block. Sotheby’s Old Masters sales this week did little to counter that statement, bringing in a modest $74.5 million (or $89.5 million with fees) this week.
But their sales did include a few surprises, including a new public auction record for Bronzino, a successful haul for an Anthony Van Dyck painting that had been discovered in a farm shed, and works by female Old Masters that over-performed.
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Below, a look at five works that sold in the sales.