Spiraling prices for Old Master paintings and drawings are common in todays auction market. Take for example the over eight million British pounds paid for the study of The Risen Christ by Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564), sold at Christie’s in 2000.
I was wondering what the highest price ever paid for an Old Master Print (engraving or etching) might be, and came across a news article from the New York Times edition of November, 1983:
A first state engraving (or etching, dry point and engraving, to be precise) of “St. Jerome Reading in an Italian Landscape” by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was sold at Christie’s in 1983 for $181’500. This was the highest price for a print ever fetched at an auction, surpassing even the previous record held by Picasso’s “Minotauromachie”, sold in 1981 at Christie’s as well.The engraving was bought by David Tunick, a New York based art dealer specialising in Old Master and Modern Prints.
Now i’m wondering whether this still holds true. If not, who might be the new top selling Old Master etcher/engraver? I’d bet on Rembrandt, Dürer or Mantegna…
New York Times: Rembrandt Engraving Brings Record $181,500.-
“St. Jerome Reading in an Italian landscape” at the University of Michigan Art Museum
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