John Constable Painting For Sale at Christie’s Sparks Family Feud

Detail from John Constable’s The Lock. (Courtesy Christie’s)

John Constable’s The Lock will be sold at a Christie’s auction on July 3 in London, estimated at £20m-£25 million (about $30-$38 million). The work is being sold by Baroness Carmen “Tita” Thyssen, the widow and last of the five wives of collector Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (fantastic names in this family). Their massive art collection was purchased by the Spanish government for about $461 million in 1993 and has been the source of a large amount of family drama basically ever since.

Ms. Thyssen’s daughter strongly contests the sale and has sent out a letter to press claiming (according to the Financial Times) that her mother is “isolated from reality. Ms. Thyssen in turn told Spanish newspaper El País “I need cash.” Hey, at least she’s honest!

In an earlier article, The Guardian said it was doubtful that any U.K. museum would have enough money to purchase the work, which set a record in 1990 for the most expensive British art ever sold at auction. Back then, It sold for £10.8 million ($16.6 million). Those prices just keep getting bigger, don’t they?