Sotheby’s annual ‘Masters Week’ offers replicas of Old Master paintings

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The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymous Bosch. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Sotheby’s will host a sale of Old Master Paintings and Sculptures on January 30th in New York. The European paintings on offer date from the 14th to the 19th centuries.

The auction is being held as part of ‘Masters Week’ at Sotheby’s New York, which begins January 29th with Old Master Drawings and the Master Paintings Evening sale, followed by 19th Century European Art (January 31st) and an online sale of Old Masters (February 4th).

The auction will feature works by Hieronymus Bosch, Michael Sweerts and Leonardo Da Vinci – including a 17th century Mona Lisa replica and the “only to-scale replica” of Leonardo’s Saint Jerome Praying in the Wilderness. The works on offer are replicas of their artists’ originals, with price tags from anywhere between $6,000 – $450,000.

Other highlights of the paintings section include a “beautiful” penschilderij landscape by Adriaen van Salm, a “stunning” portrayal of a sea nymph by Ginevra Cantofoli and an endearing portrait by François Hubert Drouais, according to the Sotheby’s listing.

A Sotheby’s representative said: “In the past 10 years, the market for Old Master copies has steadily increased. In 2012 a period copy of Velázquez’s The Concert, sold for £181,250 – more than 23x the low estimate; and in that same year, a canvas of Saint Francis from the workshop of El Greco sold for over 16x its low estimate, achieving £163,250.”

However, the auctioneer told Private Art Investor that the most in-demand copy is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. “Last year iself, Sotheby’s sold two copies: one in New York that sold for $1,695,000 (estimate $80,000 – 120,000) and one in Paris, which sold for €552,500 (estimate €70,000 – €90,000).”

The sculpture selection of the sale will feature works of art from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods including an early 16th century German sculpture of St George and the Dragon carved in polychrome oak.

Last year’s Master Paintings and Sculpture Day sale, also hosted in New York by Sotheby’s, commanded a total $10.8m for some 200 lots including some pieces by Bicci di Lorenzo and Leonardo da Vinci’s $1.7m Mona Lisa.