No-one can have failed to have been impressed by her quiet beauty and modest calm as she sits reading. But those who were attracted to the young woman in the 19th century painting by Turkish painter Osman Hamdi Bey outbid each other, setting a new world record price for the artist last week, at Bonhams in London,
Young Woman Reading – a part of Bonhams’s 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art – was originally estimated to fetch between £600,000-800,000 and reached a hammer price of £6.3 million ($7.8 million). The entire sale achieved £10,970,000.
Bonhams’s head of 19th Century Art, Charles O’Brien said, “Young Woman Reading is one of the finest of Osman Hamdi Bey’s paintings to appear at auction in recent years. I am not surprised that the bidding was so strong and that it set a new world record sum for the artist. The sum achieved for Young Woman Reading, and for the three works in the sale by Ludwig Deutsch, demonstrate the strength of the market for Orientalist paintings.”
Hamdi’s Istanbul Hanımefendisi (A Lady of Constantinople) held the artist’s previous auction record when it sold in London in 2008 for $6.5 million.