Titian Painting Sets Artist’s Auction Record After Hammering for $22.1 M. at Christie’s London

Christie’s Classic Week evening sales in London on Tuesday – Old Masters Part I Sale and The Exceptional Sale – totaled almost $65 million. The former’s headline lot, Titian’s Rest on the Flight into Egypt (c.1510), set a new auction record for the artist, hammering for $22,178,280.

The wooden panel painting, measuring 46 x 62.9 cm and depicting Mary cradling Jesus under the watchful gaze of Joseph, was estimated at $20-30 million. It was last auctioned by Christie’s in 1878 when it was bought by the 4th Marquess of Bath. “One of the last religious works from the artist’s celebrated early years to remain in private hands, the picture has passed through some of the greatest collections in Europe,” the house said before the sale.

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It was eventually inherited by Ceawilin Thynn, the 8th Marquess of Bath, who resides in Longleat House in Wiltshire, UK. Together with the Longleat Trustees, he offered it to Christie’s as part of “their long-term investment strategy.”

“This sublime early masterpiece by Titian is one of the most poetic products of his youth,” Orlando Rock, chairman of Christie’s UK, said. “Of impeccable provenance and having passed through the hands of dukes, archdukes, and holy Roman emperors, this magical devotional painting has the rare notoriety of having been stolen not once but twice – firstly by Napoleon and secondly in the late mid-1990s.”

After being stolen from the Longleat Estate in 1995, the painting was found without its frame in a plastic bag in London seven years later.

Titian’s previous auction record was $16.9 million for A Sacra Conversazione (c.1560), which was sold in 2011 by Sotheby’s New York.

Source: artnews.com

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