Well, it wasn't quite the result I'd expected. I'd believed that Poussin's Ordination- auctioned at Christie's last night- would have sold, and then an export ban slapped on it, leaving the National Gallery the impossible and unenviable task of raising revenue for it. But it was not to be- the masterwork simply failed to sell. Poussin 1, Christie's 0.
As Laura Gilbert says on her blog, Art Unwashed, the bidding started at £9 million, but failed to get past £13.5 million, just short of its reserve of 15 m. Obviously the reserve was too high, but Christie's had put a lot of promotion into this convinced that it would go, but it was not to be.
Christie's are quoted on the BBC website as saying:
"It was a disappointment that the superb painting by Poussin did not sell in the auction. This masterpiece was admired and appreciated around the world, generating considerable excitement. Overall, we saw strong private institutional and trade bidding from Europe including Russia, Asia and the USA."
But not "strong" enough bidding to secure the painting. I can speculate to my heart's content about who bid for the masterpiece, but would not go as high as the reserve. In the end it doesn't really matter- the painting will remain in the U.K.
I'm sorry for the Duke of Rutland with his problems at Belvoir Castle, but as a Poussin scholar I'm delighted that Ordination wasn't sold. Poussin has beaten the art market, which would have amused him I'm sure.