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Old Master Drawings
Old Master drawings refer to European works on paper that were rendered in traditional drawing media from the 14th to 19th centuries. They encompass a diversity genres from portraiture to landscapes, and include artists ranging from Renaissance masters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci to French Romanticists such as François Boucher and Jean Antoine Watteau.
These drawings tend to reflect an academic style of art, stressing the artist’s ability to capture their subjects with fidelity. However, there are notable exceptions. The Spanish painter Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes is regarded as one of the most pivotal artists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Goya’s drawings reveal the artist’s penchant for imaginative, grotesque, and at times terrifying compositions that contradict the straightforward realism that one typically expects from the genre.
Old Master drawings can be found at a variety of price points depending on their age, subject, and creator. The drawings of lesser known 19th century European artists may be worth a few thousand dollars, whereas a drawing by Michelangelo can fetch more than $10 million.
In 1998, Christie’s was sued for £100 million over a Leonardo Da Vinci drawing in ink, chalk, and pen that was incorrectly attributed to an anonymous 19th century German artist and sold for just over £14,500
Old Masters drawings are typically stable assets and have been purchased to diversify high net worth individuals’ financial portfolios
During economic recessions, investors will often purchase Old Master drawings and paintings as a way of investing their resources in an asset class that is largely impervious to market fluctuations