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Sketchbook by Caspar David Friedrich sold at auction for ¤1.8m

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A sketchbook by German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) was sold at Berlin auction house Grisebach on Thursday for a total of over ?1.8 million ($1.96 million).


The value of the "Karlsruhe Sketchbook" had previously been estimated at up to ?1.5 million.


The auction price was ?1.45 million, but the gross price with buyer's premium for the auction house is reportedly ?1.819 million. There was initially no information on the new owners.


The little book belonged to a family in Karlsruhe for more than 200years. According to the auction house, it is the last known bound copy of a sketchbook by the artist that is still in private hands.


Only six of a total of probably 20 of these little books have survived. Four of them - some of them incompletely bound - are kept by the National Museum in Oslo, another by the Museum of Prints and Drawings, or Kupferstichkabinett, in Dresden.


Friedrich, who was born in the north-eastern German city of Greifswald, repeatedly slipped the sketchbook into the pockets of his travelling coat between mid-April and early June 1804. The drawings were made in Dresden. They include fine pencil drawings of trees,branches and tree trunks.


The artist had incorporated several motifs into major works, for example the sketch of an oak tree in his early work "Hünengrab im Schnee" (Cairn in Snow).


Shortly before the auction, it became known that the sketchbook was to be protected as a cultural asset. The Berlin cultural administration initiated proceedings to have the "Karlsruhe Sketchbook" entered in the register of nationally valuable cultural assets of the state of Berlin. Export is therefore prohibited for the duration of the proceedings.


Lyonel Feiniger's 1923 painting "Clouds over the Sea I" was also sold at the auction for 1.9 million. The painting had previously been estimated at up to 1.2 million. — dpa


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