Several artists achieved world record prices at the series of Old Masters paintings sales in London this week.
A work by Pieter Brueghel the Younger sold for an artist auction record price of £6.9 million ($10.7 million) at Christie's in London to lead its $37.6 million Old Master & British Paintings sale.
The Battle between Carnival and Lent, a quintessential work by Brueghel (1564/5-1637/8), easily surpassed its presale estimate of £3.5 million to £4.5 million.
Works by four other artists also achieved record prices in the Dec. 6 evening auction, including the fresh-to-market painting Dutch men-o'-war and other shipping in a calm by Willem van de Velde II (1633-1707) which realized £5,921,250 ($9,237,150).
At this week's Bonhams sale, a newly-authenticated Diego Velazquez portrait brought a strong £3 million ($4.7 million), at the top end of its pre-sale estimate. The buyer was reportedly Alfred Bader Fine Arts of Milwaukee.
The evening sale at Sotheby's on Dec. 7 brought in 20 million pounds ($31 million) to bring the firm's 2011 Old Masters sales total to about $247 million. One highlight was a pair of charming landscape scenes by Johann Zoffany, commissioned by Britain's famed actor David Garrick, which totaled $10.5 million.
Of two artists' record, Jan Steen's "An Elegant Company in an Interior with Figures Playing Cards at a Table" went for 4.8 million pounds ($7.58 million).