A 16th century artwork from an unknown member of the famed Venetian school featured as top lot at Bonhams Old Master Paintings sale yesterday (July 4).
The much-anticipated auction follows successful old master sales from both Sotheby's and Christie's this week, and with the Mei Moses index reporting a 5.4% increase for the sector in the first half of 2012.
The Venetian school piece, a three-quarter length portrait of a bearded gentleman in black costume, sold for £151,250 ($235,696). It is not certain who created the work due to an indistinct signature showing at the lower right hand corner. Venetian school artworks are highly sought-after by collectors, prized for their stunning use of colour and influence on the development of painting in Western society.
The auction's second highest bids were brought by an impressive oil painting from president and founding member of the Venetian Academy, Giovanni Battista Pittoni. A previously untraced companion to Pittoni's spectacular The Massacre of the Innocents, the 1760 work Christ driving the Moneylenders from the Temple sold for £145,250.
Another Venetian work, this time from Guiseppe de Gobbis, also featured in the auction's top sales. Depicting a music party at a typical Venetian casino, the work achieved £121,250.
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