The innovative sale Provenance Revealed: Galerie Steinitz more than doubled its pre-sale estimate, realising a total of £6,299,640 / $7,131,192 / 7,187,889, on 21 September at Christies
headquarters in London. Selling 89% by value, each lot was registered and secured on the Blockchain through Artory a notable first for Classic Art. For this celebration of great provenances and craftsmanship, Christies partnered with Benjamin Steinitz, the internationally renowned dealer of 18th and 19th century furniture and sculpture, to advance the trade of decorative arts to a sophisticated new realm.
The sale was led by two pairs of timeless Empire white marble demi-lune console tables, circa 1805, which realised £730,800 / $827,266 / 833,843 and £693,000 / $784, 476 / 790,713 respectively, each selling for many times their pre-sale estimates (estimate for each pair: £100,000-200,000, example illustrated above). Both pairs were originally supplied to the Villa Reale di Marlia home of Elisa Bonaparte, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, (1777-1820). Almost half of the sale sold for over the high estimate, with other important lots including Narcissus contemplating his image in the water, Paris school, mid-18th century, which was formerly in the celebrated collection of Louis-Antoine Crozat (1699-1770), Baron de Thiersson of the financier Antoine Crozat who was considered the richest man in France. The marble realised £604,800 / $684,634 / 690,077 against an estimate of £100,000 to £150,000.
Each lot included a secure, encrypted certificate of the sale for the successful bidder, providing a permanent digital record of the information about the artwork.
Paul Gallois and Charlotte Young, Christies Co-Heads of Sale commented: Christies is proud to have partnered with Benjamin Steinitz on this innovative first for Decorative Arts celebrating historic provenances and outstanding craftsmanship by recording the works on the blockchain, through Artory. This initiative perfectly complemented Christies and Galerie Steinitzs shared passion for the captivating stories that provenances can reveal. The sale highlighted the strength of demand across categories, particularly the strong international appetite for 18th century masterpieces. We are particularly pleased with the results of the rare marble console tables commissioned by Elisa Bonaparte which sold for £1,431,000 seven times the pre-sale low estimate and the pair of Royal Louis XVI giltwood fauteuils from the Palais de Tuileries which achieved £466,000, three times their low estimate and the late Louis XV giltwood fauteuil by Jean Boucault, circa 1770 which was delivered in 1783 to Baron de Breteuil (1730-1807) for his apartment in the château de Versailles, that sold for £315,000 against a low estimate of £100,000-150,000.
Benjamin Steinitz commented: I am thrilled that the fascinating provenances of the rare and important works of art that were offered in this sale have resulted in such strong results. This is a reflection that the passion that Christies and I share for these works and the stories that they tell is also shared and appreciated by the market. It is wonderful that this valuable data has been added to the Blockchain a first in the history of Decorative Arts through Christies collaboration with Artory; to create an everlasting link between the work of art, its authenticity and its provenance.