The painting "Buscando Mariscos" by Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla was auctioned off at Sotheby's in New York for $4.8 million, making it the highest priced work by the artist ever sold in the United States.
"Since 'Buscando Mariscos' (Looking for Shellfish) arrived at Sotheby's this summer, we knew it would arouse great interest and today (Friday) we set a new record for a Sorolla painting in the United States," Polly Sartori, vice president of Sotheby's, said after the sale.
The picture, created by the Valencian master in 1907 and which captures the moment when a little girl stirs the sand on the beach looking for clams, was initially assessed by the auction house at up to $1.5 million.
"Buscando Mariscos" is the only one of Sorolla's paintings that Sotheby's is putting up for auction in New York, while in London it will sell to the highest bidder "Playa de Valencia," "La Llegada de la Pesca" and "Barcas en la Playa," all featuring the sea and beaches of Valencia.
Sorolla, who was born in Valencia in 1868 and died in Cercedilla in 1923, established ties with the United States in 1909 when he took a collection of 350 paintings to New York, which made his reputation grow in that country.
During Friday's bidding, other works were knocked down for a total of $15.3 million, notably "La Coiffure" by the Italian Federico Zandomeneghi for $1.8 million, and "Dolce Far Niente" by Britain's John William Godward for $1.5 million.
"The Doge's Palace and Santa Maria Della Salute" by Federico del Campo, the Peruvian painter who specialized in landscapes of Venice, was also sold at the New York auction, bringing in $257,000. EFE