John Constable Painting Sold by Christie’s for $34 Million
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A John Constable painting was recently sold at auction for a staggering £22,441,250 (approx. $34.2 million). It was part of a Christie’s event last week, and it depicts the rural life in Suffolk, east England. Called The Lock, this large-scale work of art (56×47 inches) was finished in 1824 and it is part of a series of six large paintings of the Stour Valley. This particular oil on canvas was the fifth of the series.
The painting itself is remarkable indeed, but the story of its sale is just as special. Apparently, Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, aged 69, sold the Constable due to some financial issues that she was going through at the time. She is the fifth wife and the widow of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, who passed away in 2002, leaving behind a huge private collection of outstanding works of art.
The baroness is a former Miss Spain who lately has been facing ‘liquidity’ problems due to the economic difficulties of her country. Her solution to the problem was not approved by her stepdaughter and other people who were involved, so the whole deal was wrapped in controversy. Francesca Von Habsburg, the Baron’s daughter, declared that “The baroness has shown absolutely no respect for my father and is simply putting her own financial needs above everything else.”
Also disappointed with Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza’s decision were some board members of the museum in which the painting was kept. Sir Norman Rosenthal, the former exhibitions director of London Royal Academy, even resigned from the position of trustee of the Madrid museum because of all this. In his resignation letter he wrote that this decision of the baroness “represents a moral shame on the part of all those concerned, most especially on the part of Tita.”