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World-record €3 million for Verbeeck auction

Flemish artist Frans Verbeeck's painting "The Mocking of Human Follies" sold for a world-record setting €3 million on Tuesday night in Vienna.

World-record €3 million for Verbeeck auction
Photo: The Mocking of Human Follies. Photo: Dorotheum

Austrian auction house Dorotheum's Old Master Auction set the record for the highest selling price ever achieved in an Austrian auction, as well as the highest price ever paid for a Verbeeck.

The title lot of the auction, "The Mocking of Human Follies", bears resemblance in style with signature works by Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel.  In the painting, a multitude of characters are pictured in various detailed and bizarre scenes, serving clearly as vivid illustrations of historical sayings that revolve around the eternal theme of human idiocy and foolishness.

The painting sold for €3,035,000 after a hard-fought bidding war, and went to an unnamed Flemish bidder.  It was originally estimated to sell for between €900,000 and €1,200,000.

According to the Dorotheum catalog, "the subject of the mocking of human follies and its unique and scenically elaborate visual translation deviates from the hitherto known themes of the Verbeeck group, mainly treating, as far as the works in question have survived, peasant weddings, the Temptation of Saint Anthony, and, in one example, an allegory of gluttony."

"The present composition, different from the Verbeecks’ commonly small-sized paintings on cloth, also stands out for its large scale and the employment of oil paint instead of tempera, which was otherwise used almost without exception."


Detail from painting.  Photo: Dorotheum

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OFFBEAT

Elvis’ last Cadillac up for sale in Austria

Elvis Presley loved Cadillacs, compulsively collecting hundreds of them during his lifetime, and what is believed to be the last Cadillac he drove before his death in 1977 is going under the hammer in Austria later this month, the auctioneers said on Friday.

Elvis' last Cadillac up for sale in Austria
A cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley sits in front of Graceland Mansion in 2007 to mark the 30th anniversary of his death. Photo: JOE RAEDLE / Getty Images North America / AFP
The asking price for the King of Rock's beige-coloured 1972 Cadillac de Ville Estate — which is being auctioned in Salzburg on October 20 — is 100,000-200,000 euros ($115,500-$230,500), Vienna's Dorotheum auction house said.   
 
With around 112,000 kilometres on the clock, the car was the one Elvis used for his final road trip in December 1976, when he drove 1,500 miles from Las Vegas back to his home in Graceland, the Dorotheum said. The singer died just eight months later. 
 
Originally built as a Deville sedan, it was converted to an estate car by the American Sunroof Company in 1972 and is only the second of its kind ever built.
 
Equipped with air conditioning, leather upholstery and a radio with eight-track tape, it also has a number of gold-plated fittings, including the wheel spokes. 
 
Elvis originally intended the car as a gift to his manager, Colonel Parker. But he borrowed back himself so frequently that Parker gave it back to him, the auction house said. 
 
The car was repeatedly put up for auction in the 1990s and 2000s, last finding a buyer for just over $75,000.