The painting Return from the fair/Intoarcerea de la balci, by famous painter Nicolae Grigorescu, sold for EUR 65,000 at the recent auction held by Artmark auction house in Bucharest. The entire auction raised some EUR 464,000, a rate of sale of 91.5 percent.
Other paintings sold during the recent auction were Grigorescu's Car cu boi, pe cale, de dimineaţă/Ox cart, on the road, in the morning, sold for EUR 50,000, Stefan Luchian's First ball/Primul bal sold for EUR 29,000, and Grigorescu's painting Casa pădurarului din Agapia/The Agapia ranger's house sold for EUR 25,000.
There was an overall growth in the Romanian art market of around 20 percent in 2012 and total sales reached EUR 14.6 million, according to Artmark's figures.
There was also growth in private sales, which were on an equal footing with auction sales last year. In 2010 – 2011, auction sales accounted for around 65 percent of the total.
The most important Romanian artists continued to be a popular investment last year; both with existing collectors and newcomers to the auction scene. Works by the best known Romanian artists are seen as a safe investment and prices raised at auction in 2012 support this premise.
While in 2011, prices paid for pieces by artists such as Nicolae Grigorescu and Nicolae Tonitza leaped up dramatically, in some cases by 50 – 60 percent, in 2012 there was a steadying in the amounts paid. Important examples of Tonitza's work consistently fetched EUR 150,000 to EUR 200,000 at auction, while pieces by Grigorescu regularly went for between EUR 100,000 and EUR 200,000. The Tonitza painting, In the Bedroom, still holds the record for the highest price. It sold for EUR 290,000 in 2011.