Sculpture Achieves $8.9 Million
One of the Highest Prices Ever Achieved for Old Master Sculpture at Auction


Sculpture Achieves $8.9 Million
One of the Highest Prices Ever Achieved for Old Master Sculpture at Auction


Headlines the Legendary Hester Diamond Collection
Totaling $26.8 Million


17 Additional Artist Auction Records Established, Including
Giovanni Francesco di Niccolò di Luteri, called Dosso Dossi

Pieter Coecke van Aelst | Contemporary Artist Dustin Yellin


Continued Online Growth for Old Masters:
74% of Participants Registered Online
A Third of Total Buyers Purchased Online


Sotheby’s Masters Week Running Sale Total Surpasses $148 Million

With Three Online Auctions Open for Bidding Through 30 January


NEW YORK, 29 January 2021 - Today’s livestream auction of Part I from the collection of Hester Diamond was led by the record-breaking result for Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Baroque marble sculpture, Autumn, which achieved $8.9 million (estimate $8/12 million). The result is amongst one of the highest prices ever achieved for an Old Master sculpture at auction.


Fact and Figures on Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Autumn:

  • Auction record established for Pietro Bernini, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and works attributed as a pair.
  • Gian Lorenzo Bernini was considered to be the most important sculptor after Michelangelo.
    Carved in 1616 in Gian Lorenzo’s father’s studio, where they collaborated on the work together.
  • One of only a handful of sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his father Pietro that remain in private hands.
  • This particular piece has never been offered at auction, having passed down through private collections since it was commissioned by Prince Leone Strozzi in Rome.
  • Three examples of sculptures from this period are found in the collections of The J. Paul Getty Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Featured in the royal collection of Prince Strozzi, the head of one of the richest banking families in Florence and Rome, where it was displayed in the ‘hall’ of the Strozzi Villa, the most important room in the palace.
  • Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s work very rarely comes up for auction, and the artist’s previous auction record was set at Sotheby’s London for $3.2 million.


George Wachter, Chairman of Sotheby’s Americas commented: “Hester was unlike anyone else I knew. Her fearless spirit, her ability to make decisions based on her beliefs and desires, her constant search for interesting works of art to buy or new fields of interest to pursue, and her dignity and grace in the face of the curveballs that life threw at her, made her a real presence and a force of life. She had that true ‘collector gene’ and was intellectually curious until the day she died. While bittersweet, bringing this collection to auction and sharing Hester’s visionary eye has been incredibly rewarding and a moment I will not soon forget. The tremendous results of today’s sale, from record-breaking sales for the Bernini, Dosso Dossi, Pieter Coecke van Aelst and more, only reinforces her vision as a collector.”


Margaret Schwartz, Co-Worldwide Head, European Sculpture and Works of Art, remarked: “Bernini is synonymous with the charged, emotional style of the Baroque, and Autumn is a remarkable early work by the teenage Gian Lorenzo, working in his father Pietro’s studio, which showcases the young prodigy coming into his artistic genius. One of only a handful of works by both father and son, it was a tremendous thrill to present such an important and masterful work. Hester Diamond was a one-of-a-kind collector, and the Bernini epitomized the intellectual and playful nature of her collection.”


Additional auction records set for: Pieter Coecke van Aelst (Lot 103, centerpiece of a monographic exhibition on the artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2014), Roberto d'Oderisio (Lot 106, previously on loan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,in 2006), Lorenzo Ghiberti and workshop (Lot 111, last sold at auction in 2001), Francesco de' Franceschi (Lot 113, last sold at auction in 1955),Alessandro Fei, called Alessandro del Barbiere (Lot 114), Giovanni Francesco di Niccolò di Luteri, called Dosso Dossi (Lot 116, never appeared at auction but was previously on loan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006), Giovanni Bonazza (Lot 117), Jean del Cour (Lot 119), Aurelio Lombardo (Lot 120, last sold at auction in 1999, and appeared on loan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006), Master of the Schongauer Altärchen (Lot 126, last appeared at auction in 1944), Jörg Lederer (Lot 129, last appeared at auction in 1925), Dustin Yellin (Lot 130), Nikolaos Tzafouris (Lot 138), Alonso Berruguete (Lot 140), Giuseppe Maria Mazza (Lot 143), Giuseppe Mazzuoli and Bartolomeo Mazzuoli (Lot 146), Matthias Bernhard Braun (Lot 148)

Further auction insights:

  • Sale achieved $26.8 million, firmly within the pre-sale estimate ($23.3m - 35.3m).
  • Depth of online bidding throughout the sale, with nearly 75% of participants registered online.
  • A third of total buyers purchased online, including notable results for:
    • Girolamo della Robbia, Madonna and Child, sold for $230,500
    • Benvenuto Tisi, called Garofalo, Nativity, sold for $214,200
    • Leonhard Kern, The Lamentation, sold for $478,800
  • International registrants from nearly 30 countries across 5 continents.
  • Institutional bidding and buying across the sale.
  • Total livestream views across Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I and Fearless: The Hester Diamond Collection exceeds 1.3 million.
  • Further works from the Hester Diamond Collection will be offered in an online auction , closing later today.
29 January 2021