Rembrandt & Picasso Lead Sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints

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Pablo Picasso, Fumeur à la Cigarette Rouge, color aquatint, 1964. Sold for $42,500.
Pablo Picasso, Fumeur à la Cigarette Rouge, color aquatint, 1964. Sold for $42,500.

OLD MASTER THROUGH MODERN PRINTS

Sale 2566; May 6, 2021

Sale total: $1,802,911

Estimates for sale as a whole: $1,651,400–$2,521,600

We offered 455 lots; 355 sold (78% sell-through rate by lot)

All prices include Buyer’s Premium.

New York—Swann Galleries’ sale of Old Master Through Modern Prints on Thursday, May 6 delivered $1.8 million in sales, and saw seven print records set. “There was robust and consistent interest in Old Master prints, with several new artist records set for prints by Rembrandt, Goya and Piranesi, and Modern prints were tenaciously contested as usual,” noted Todd Weyman, the house’s director of prints and drawings. 

Rembrandt van Rijn, Joseph Telling His Dream, etching and drypoint, 1638. Sold for $32,500, a record for the print.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Joseph Telling His Dream, etching and drypoint, 1638. Sold for $32,500, a record for the print.

The top two lots in the auction were Pablo Picasso‘s Fumeur à la Cigarette Rouge, color aquatint, 1964, at a near-record price of $42,500, and Rembrandt van Rijn Joseph Telling his Dreams, etching, 1638, at a record setting $32,500, setting a precedent for the sale as a whole with household names leading throughout. 

Rembrandt proved to be the favorite among the Old Masters on offer with eight of the Dutch artist’s etchings making their way into the top 20 lots sold, and three establishing records. The Holy Family, circa 1632, brought a record for the print at $20,000, and A Ragged Peasant with His Hands Behind Him, Holding a Stick, circa 1633, achieved a record at $17,500. Also of note by Rembrandt was Self Portrait in a Cap and Scarf with the Face Dark: Bust, 1633, at $30,000; and Landscape with an Obelisk, circa 1650, at $22,500. Rounding out the Old Master offering was three records for etchings by Giovanni Piranesi: Vue Intérieure du Temple de Neptune, 1778, at $7,250, Veduta della Piazza del Popolo, 1750, at $6,250, and Veduta interna del Pronao del Pantheon, 1769, at $2,000; as well as a record for Francisco José de Goya’s Modo de Volar, circa 1824, at $20,000.

The Modern offering included Salvador Dalí’s Les Caprices de Goya, a 1977 portfolio with 80 heliogravures from Goya’s etchings with aquatint from Los Caprichos reworked by Dalí with drypoint and stencil coloring, which sold for $30,000, and Faust by Goethe, a 1969 set of color drypoints, at $23,750. Additional works from Picasso were Picador II, color lithograph, 1961, at $22,500, and Picador, a 1953 glazed terre-de-faïence plate painted in green, blue, yellow and white, at $17,500. Exemplary work by Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse and Joan Miró rounded out the section.

The house is currently accepting consignments for the fall 2021 season. For the house’s most up-to-date auction schedule please visit swanngalleries.com.

Key:  * = Record for Print; C = Collector; D = Dealer

Additional highlights can be found here.

Captions:

Lot 291: Pablo Picasso, Fumeur à la Cigarette Rouge, color aquatint, 1964. Sold for $42,500.

Lot 86: Rembrandt van Rijn, Joseph Telling His Dream, etching and drypoint, 1638. Sold for $32,500, a record for the print.

Specialist: Todd Weyman • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 32

Chief Marketing Officer: Alexandra Nelson • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 19

Public Relations Associate: Kelsie Jankowski • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 23

Social media: @swanngalleries  

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ILLUSTRATED CATALOGUE, ADDL. IMAGES & COMPLETE PRICES REALIZED ON REQUEST

Swann Auction Galleries is a third-generation family business as well as the world’s largest auction house for works on paper. In the last 75 years, Swann has repeatedly revolutionized the trade with such innovations as the first U.S. auction dedicated to photographs and the world’s only department of African-American Fine Art. More than 30 auctions and previews are held annually in Swann Galleries’ two-floor exhibition space in Midtown Manhattan, and online worldwide. Visit swanngalleries.com for more information.

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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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