Christie’s rounds off 2003 with auctions of old master drawings in Paris and Rome

[09 Dec 2003]


If the price of an old master drawing depends mainly on its origin and state of preservation, then investors are in for a treat. Christie’s is putting up drawings from the collection of one of the great 18th century collectors, the Marquis of Calvière, in Paris on 17 December. These drawings have been immaculately preserved in an album and will be offered in 65 lots with estimates ranging from less than EUR 1,000 euros to over EUR 100,000.

XVIIth C. French drawing price growth (1993-2003)Base year 1993 = 100

Among the top lots is an outstanding drawing by Peter Paul RUBENS (Persée montrant la tête de Méduse à ses ennemis, d’après Polidoro da Caravaggio estimated at EUR 70,000-100,000) and a preparatory study for a fresco by Agostino CARRACCI in the Palazzo del Giardino (Thétis et les néréides guidant l’Argo entre Charybde et Scylla estimated at EUR 150,000-200,000). Less wealthy investors can look forward to a host of extremely well preserved French drawings, including Michel DORIGNY’s Vénus et Adonis, d’après Simon Vouet estimated at EUR 10,000-15,000, and Une procession de néréides et de centaures de mer avec des putti sur des dauphins by François PERRIER in the EUR 30-000-50,000 range. The auction also offers numerous 18th century drawings by French artists at less than EUR 2,000 apiece. The price index for old master drawings has tripled since January 1997.

The Paris auction will be competing with a splendid sale of old master works at Christie’s Rome. Most of the lots are by 17th and 18th century Italian artists and most are expected to go for less than EUR 15,000 apiece. For under EUR 3,000 investors will be able to pick up a number of portraits and religious paintings by or attributed to artists from the Italian schools. A word of warning though. After rising sharply in the 1990s, prices for works by 17th century Italian artists have been falling for three years and now stand at pre-2000 levels. The bought-in rate is running at close to 50%.