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World Record for Renaissance Painter Sofonisba Anguissola at the Dorotheum Auction of Old Master Paintings
Joachim Antonisz Wtewael (1566 - 1638) The Adoration of the Shepherds, realized price € 306.300
Sofonisba Anguissola (ca. 1535 - 1625) Portrait of Archduchess Johanna of Austria, realized price € 283.300
Marcantonio Franceschini (1648-1729) The Rape of Europe, realized price € 237.300
The auction of old master paintings held on 12th October 2011 continued the successes of the current Dorotheum auction week. For once, women featured prominently not only as the subject of a painting: Achieving a new worldrecord was Sofonisba Anguissola - courtier to the Spanish queen, most renowned woman painter of the Renaissance and the most famous female artist of her age – with a Portraitof Archduchess Johanna of Austria, Governess of Spain. Johanna, an influential politician in her own right, holds up a medallion depicting her father, Charles V. The severe portrait, one of very few works by Sofonisba available on the art market, caused a dramatic bidding battle before finally being awarded to a proxy bidder for 283.300 Euro, many times the original estimate (Cat. No. 431). This is the highest price ever paid at auction for a documented work by this artist and not entirely surprising considering that Sofonisba Anguissola counted Michelangelo, Rubens or van Dyck among her friends and admirers.
One of the Dorotheum auction's most sought-after lots turned out to be a many-figured Adoration of the Shepherds by Joachim Antonisz Wtwael, the first proponent of Dutch Mannerism. Quite popular in his own day, he has since become regarded as a precursor to Surrealism. The painting was sold to a bidder present for 306.300 Euro (Cat. No. 478).
As ever, female subjects from the nobility, the Bible, or from mythology found themselves rewarded with high bids: A Rape of Europe by Marcantonio Franceschini achieved 237.300 Euro, Rebecca by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini went to the well for 179.800 Euro, an a Sforza Duchess with her sons, painted by Scipione Pulzone da Gaeta, ascended to 191.300 Euro (Cat. No. 512, 507, 432).