Old Masters are dominating the art auction scene lately, with huge winning bids on spectacular works from centuries past.

In London’s recent major art auctions, Old Masters continued to captivate buyers, with Rembrandt’s “The Adoration of the Kings” leading the way. The painting from 1628 fetched nearly £11 million (US$14 million), a significant increase from its previous sale at Christie’s two years ago for only €860,000 (about US$927,000). Sotheby’s conducted 18 months of research to verify the painting’s true origin as Rembrandt’s work, making it a substantial addition to his early career.

At Christie’s, a pair of Venetian vedute paintings by Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, achieved £9.7 million (US$12.2 million). These previously unknown works, painted in or around 1734, were sold from a private collection and had not been publicly seen since 1777. Guaranteed with third-party backing, the wall-sized paintings surpassed their estimated £8 million value.

Christie’s Old Masters evening sales this week totaled £34.1 million, with the Old Masters Part I sale contributing nearly £22 million. The December total for this category was the highest since 2019, marking a 67% increase from the previous year. Other notable sales included a collection of graphic prints by Rembrandt, formerly owned by entrepreneur Sam Josefowitz, which sold for nearly £8 million.

Sotheby’s Old Masters auction featured a record artist price at auction for Francesco Renaldi’s “Portrait of a Mughal lady, seated in an interior, 1787,” selling for £825,500, a high for any piece by Renaldi. The overall sale totaled £19.4 million, consistent with Sotheby’s previous December sales. Despite 74% of the 27 lots being sold, the auction achieved a 95% sell-through by value.

These results highlight the market’s positive response to rare Old Masters artworks, particularly those notable for their condition. Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s have demonstrated the enduring allure and value appreciation of these timeless masterpieces in the art world.