Impressive price rise for an Old Master drawing



Christie’s London sold an unearthed drawing by the Florentine Renaissance artist, Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530), depicting the head of Saint Joseph, for GBP 5.8 million on 5 July.

This work by the Italian Renaissance master, which was a study for his painting « The Holy Family »now in the Pitti Palace, was bought by the art dealer Jean-Luc Baroni.

This record-breaking sale for the artist represents the third-highest price paid for an Old Master drawing, behind works by respectively Michelangelo (« The Risen Christ: Three-Quarter Nude / Study of the Same Figure ») and Leonardo Da Vinci (« Horse and Rider »), both selling for GBP 7.4 million in July 2000 and 2001. Drawings from the Italian Renaissance period come up for auction very rarely. They are widely dispersed across the market, and generally fewer than 100 works appear at auction every year. Prices commanded by the same artist can vary considerably, depending on the condition and subject of the drawing. Another piece by ANDREA DEL SARTO, a study for « The Holy Family », went under the hammer at GBP 1,350 at Andrew Hartley in 1999.

According to Artprice data, prices for Italian Renaissance drawings reached a peak in 2002 (93% above 1991- levels). Following a steady downward trend between 2002 and 2004, prices for these works have been picking up since the start of the year.