A rare Botticelli portrait fetches $80 million in Sotheby's auction


About cheddi portrait. This week smashed the auction record for the nasal artist. Portrait of a young man with a roundell hammered at eighty million dollars. Sotheby's in new york on ninety two point one million with fees. The previous record for was relatively low. Ten point four billion dollars set in two thousand. Thirteen by the so-called rockefeller madonna portrayed. A young man had lost come to auction in one thousand nine hundred eighty two and its attribution to put. A chill was doubted by everett. Fall by then. The director of new york's frick collection. Who declared to be by francesco. Totti cini a follow of botticelli for he apparently later changed his mind and now the work is widely agreed to be a botticelli but while that work the price it was expected to a small but luminous rembrandt painting abraham and the angels from sixteen forty six which had estimate of twenty to thirty million dollars was withdrawn at the last minute. As we recorded the podcast sotheby's not yet given an explanation for its withdrawal. I spoke to scott rayburn a contributor to the newspaper and the new york times immediately after the sale. About whether it's a risk to bring these works wash now amid the pandemic and what it tells us about the market for your masters in general scott before we talk about the particular. Lots came sotheby's today. I wanted to ask you about the old master market in general and obviously the fact that he are in the middle of a pandemic and we're in an economic crisis. Does it make sense to bring these kind of lots to watch it this time. Well this is how the b.'s. new york gets the big master cell. Everyone wants to consigned to this sale. This is the moment The markets dealers on people. I speak to in that world. Say new york is where everyone wants to sell their overly only one sale year evening sale and that was the time to sell uncles. The pandemic been going on for nearly a year now in terms of restrictions on auctions sotheby's created incredibly slick format for this hybrid livestream sale It seems to be working. Well the thing about losses of courses. This isn't contemporary art. It's an unfashionable collecting field and it was always going to be a real test for that collecting field in the current environment. That's the interesting thing is because of course the leonardo so and of course the leonardo salvator mundi was very very unusual. So we have to caveat everything with that sure but christie's when they sold that put that into the contemporary sale. Luckily and i wondered how you feel about whether old master lots might do better in more mixed fields versus the traditional roadmaster sale. And who dictates that but with the salvator mundi. My understanding was that it was just a brainwave by the genius auction air Loic gouzer Thinking well let's put it in a contemporary sale. It's such a strange object If it's an old master sale than people just pick it to bits and criticize it in a contemporary sale be would just be looking at the image. And of course christie's marketing machine went into absolute overdrive and they marked it absolutely brilliantly Using the typeface of the dan brown novel to promote it You know they pulled out every stop and it worked sensationally. Well whether you the extent to which you can do again is is really questionable. Because that is as you point out in uttar outlaw. They self-talk mundi in in every respect. But what was interesting about. The marketing of this sale at celebici's is once again. The sophistication of the marketing with every lot. The work was shown online hanging on a white wool in a contemporary style. Interior where you'd expect a damien hirst to hang on then there would be to further reassure the contemporary minded by will the asian bah. There was a very attractive. Cooley dressed asian girl standing next to the painting in a contemporary interior. I that all walking the hilarious thing about this marketing ploys that in both cases they weren't actually looking at the picture they were just standing there. It was clearly if he's of marketing to reassure contemporary art buys but it was very smart and slick and clever and they and they're pulling out the stuff that incredibly inventive about it

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