Three sketches by Goya, presumed lost for 130 years, sold Tuesday for $8 million.
Christie’s says the sketches first went up for sale in Paris in 1877 and were presumed lost until a private Swiss collector contacted the auction house about them.
The sketch titled “Bajar Rinendo,” or “They Go Down Quarreling” — which depicts four women fighting as they fall through the air — sold in London for about $4.6 million.
The other two sketches depict a constable stitched inside a dead horse and a wide-eyed man praying in front of a cross.
A recently discovered painting by Jean-Antoine Watteau also sold at Christie’s for $24.4 million, the highest price ever paid for a French Old Master painting at auction. The painting called “La Surprise” had been missing for almost 200 years and was found in a British country house last year.
All the prices include the buyer’s premium.
The Goya sketches come from the private notebooks of the artist, who worked in the Spanish courtly tradition but is also known for the fantastic, dark and often disturbing works he painted later in his career. During the last three decades of his life, the Spanish artist used the notebooks to draw people in various moods and situations. Goya died in 1828.
Previous art auctions by Christie’s and rival Sotheby’s have shown the art market remains strong despite the global economic downturn.
A Monet water lily painting sold for more than $78 million in June, setting a record for the most expensive work of art ever sold by Christie’s in Europe. Sotheby’s sold a portrait by Francis Bacon for $26.9 million during its contemporary art week. Both works sold for well over their estimated values.
The two auction houses will continue their old masters sales this week.
On Wednesday, Sotheby’s will auction an oil painting portrait by Dutch artist Frans Hals that is valued at $6 million to $10 million.