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John Constable, R.A., Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows. Oil on canvas, 45.7 by 61 cm.; 18 by 24 in. Est. $2/3 million. Sold for $5,205,000. Photo: Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s 2015 Masters Week Sales are currently underway in New York and the opening session of Master Paintings just concluded bringing a strong total of $57,070,500, above the low estimate.

Thus far, twelve lots have sold for more than $1 million, including Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, a rediscovered preparatory work for one of John Constable’s most celebrated masterpieces, now in the Tate, which soared to $5.2 million after an extended battle, well in excess of expectations (est. $2/3 million). The top selling lot was Willem van de Velde the Elder’s Dutch Harbor in a Calm with Small Vessels, one of the greatest examples of a penschilderij (pen and ink painting) remaining private hands, which brought $5.4 million, above the high estimate and a new record for the artist at auction.

At least three additional auction records have been set this morning for artists including Giovanni Paolo Panini, Vittore Carpaccio and Antoine Coypel. This morning’s session was 72% sold by lot, with 97% of lots bringing prices at or above their estimates.

Sotheby’s auctions continue at 2 pm with Selected Renaissance and Mannerist Works Assembled by Fabrizio Moretti and a second session of Master Paintings at 3 pm.

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