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Al Qassemi Settles Lawsuit with Sotheby’s and Waterhouse’s “The Siren” Sells for Nearly $5 million

A Sir Quentin Blake retrospective auction celebrates the author’s prolific career as an illustrator and a 19th Century European and Orientalist Art auction fetches over $3 million at Christie’s in London.

Mahmoud Mokhtar, “Au Bord du Nil (On the Banks of the Nile)” (date unknown), bronze, dark brown patina, 47 in. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi settled his sixteenth-month lawsuit with Sotheby’s Auction House earlier this week. Al Qassemi purchased “Au Bord du Nil” (On the Banks of the Nile), a sculpture by Egyptian modernist Mahmoud Mokhtar, from the auction house for £725,000 (~$942,000), at approximately 10 times the estimated price. Al Qassemi filed under the pretenses that Sotheby’s had misleadingly advertised the date of the work’s creation. The original information provided by Sotheby’s claimed the piece was “circa 1920s,” however, upon purchase, Al Qassemi was given a report from the Susse Foundry in France dating the piece in 1935, a year after the artist’s death, significantly reducing the worth of the statue. Having originally requested a full refund for the work, Al Qassemi told The National that the “claim has now been amicably settled between the parties on confidential terms and without any admission of liability or wrongdoing on either side.” “Au Bord du Nil” will be shown at the Sharjah Art Museum in the United Arab Emirates later this year.

John William Waterhouse, “The Siren” (1900), oil on canvas, 32 x 21 in. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art sale on July 12 in London proved fruitful in its resurgence of the Pre-Raphealite Brotherhood and its labors. The auction accrued a total of £7,283,800 (~9.5 million), its top sale being the haunting 1900 painting, “The Siren” by John William Waterhouse. The piece sold for £3,835,800 (~5 million), having been estimated between £1 million and £1.5 million (~$1.3 – 2 million). This painting has not been shown publicly since a Waterhouse exhibition that took place at the Royal Academy and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2008–2010.

Shara Hughes, “Me, My Fish and You” (2005), oil on canvas, 44 3/4 x 48 in. (Image courtesy of Phillips)

A painting by Shara Hughes sold as the top lot at a Phillip’s x Artsy: Summer School online auction on July 11. Hughes’s painting “Me, My Fish and You” sold for $57,500, having been estimated between $12,000 and 18,000. The auction of popular contemporary art was advertised as offering “affordable artworks for easy collecting,” including work by David Hockney and Ugo Rondinone.

A retrospective on Sir Quentin Blake, renowned children’s book artist, brought in £538,125 ($698,863) on July 12 at Christie’s. The sale included many of his landmark illustrations for Roald Dahl. The sale’s top lot, “The Grand High Witch,” an illustration from his work in The Witches by Roald Dahl, sold for £35000 (~$46,000).

A rare gouache and mixed media concept art poster by Robert McGinnis, for the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, sold for 27,500 (~$36,000) in the Bonhams Auction House Entertainment Memorabilia auction in London. It was the sale’s top lot.

Christie’s From Artist to Woodblock: Japanese Prints online sale accrued a total of £735,500 (~$958,000) on July 12. The sale’s top lot, Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s “The Ghosts of the Taira Attack Yoshitsune in Daimotsu Bay” (circa 1849-52), sold for £81,250 (~$106,000).

Rudolf Ernst, “In the Mosque” (year unknown), oil on panel, 23 ¼ x 28 ¾ in. (Image courtesy of Christie’s)

Christie’s 19th Century European & Orientalist Art sale on July 12 in London accrued a total of £2,476,125 ($3,215,746) on July 12. The sale’s top lot, “In the Mosque” by Rudolf Ernst, sold for £488,750 (~$638,000).

Christie’s Contemporary Edition online sale accrued a total of $1,770,250 on July 17. The sale’s top lot, “Metamorphosis of a Plant into a Fan” by Jim Dine, sold for $75,000.

Jack Hamilton Bush, “Green Angle” (1973), acrylic on canvas, 77 x 54 ⅜ in. (Image courtesy of Christie’s)

Christie’s First Open Online: Post-War and Contemporary Art sale accrued a total of $3,656,125 on July 18. The sale’s top lot, “Green Angle” by Jack Bush, sold for $275,000.

Christie’s The Art of China: New York, Summer Edition online sale accrued a total of $304,125 on July 18. The sale’s top lot, a lacquered 19th century carved table screen, sold for $22,500.

Christie’s The Art of China: London, Summer Edition online sale accrued a total of £190,450 (~$250,000) on July 19. The sale’s top lot, a carved and inscribed turquoise boulder, sold for £22,500 (~$30,000).

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