Auctions have been acquiring not only hi-profile and affluent people from all over the world but their moolah too. And what is a better witness to their stuffed pockets than at Christies. It’s a place where prices reach an unending pinnacle. Millions are spent and gained at the slam of the hammer and that’s exactly what happened. A watercolor by J.M.W. Turner took 5.8 million pounds ($11 million) at a London sale today, setting a record for a British work on paper, said Christie’s International. The Blue Rigi: Lake of Lucerne, Sunrise,” painted in 1842, almost trebled its estimate of about 2 million pounds. Christie’s said a telephone bidder won a battle for the picture, which shows the blue haze of a mountain under a yellow glare.
The U.K. last month barred export of two Swiss landscape watercolors by Turner to give Britons time to raise money to buy them and keep them in the country. Now that’s quiet a way to preserve talent, don’t sell till your citizens are rich enough to buy them.