Christie’s And Sotheby’s Impressionist And Modern Sales Soar In NY

Christie’s NY Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on Tuesday, May 6, has realised $285,879,000 (£168,668,610/€205,832,880), selling 89% by lot and 96% by value. This marks the highest total for Christie’s New York in this category since May 2010. Of the 53 works offered, 9 lots sold for over $10 million, 18 for over $5 million, and 43 for over $1 million. The sale was led by works from distinguished private collections, including Monet’s Nymphéas from The Clark Family Treasures and Picasso’s Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) from the Viktor and Marianne Langen Collection. Two additional sales, Works on Paper and the Day sale, will complete the series on Wednesday, May 7.

Brooke Lampley, Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, Christie’s New York, commented, “Our strong performance tonight, the highest since May of 2010, is a testament to the continued strength of the global market for Impressionist and Modern works of art. Bidders from 36 countries competed in our sale tonight for a wide variety of works, from Monet’s classic Nymphéas and Modigliani’s engaging portrait of a red-haired man, to bold, modern works by Picasso and Kandinsky. Our global team has worked tirelessly to source the best works available this season, many of which had never been offered at auction, including star lots from the leading collections of the season: the Clark Family Treasures, the Estate of Edgar M. Bronfman and the Viktor and Marianne Langen Collection.”

The broad strength of the Impressionist & Modern market is underscored with several lots in the sale demonstrating increasing value over the long term. Modigliani’s Jeune homme roux assis, for example, last sold in 2002 for $8,479,500. The 1919 work soared past its $8-12 million estimate, realizing $17,637,000.  Additionally, Giacometti’s extraordinary sculpture, Femme de Venise IV, which sold in 2000 for $2,820,686, achieved $12,709,000 tonight. Works of different genres and time periods made it into the top 10 lots of the sale, representing a mix of classic Impressionist masters such as Renoir’s Jeunes filles jouant au volant painted in 1887, which sold for $11,365,000, to Miro’s Le serpent à coquelicots, painted in 1947, which sold for $12,485,000. Eighty-seven percent of the works have not been at auction for at least ten years and 43% of works have never been offered at auction.

Property from The Viktor and Marianne Langen Collection was 100% sold, achieving $79,829,000. Picasso’s dramatic—and characteristically distorted—depiction of his mistress and muse, Dora Maar, realized $22,565,000, and led the group of nine lots. The painting had never been sold at auction previously. Painted in 1942, Picasso’s relentless deconstructing and reconfiguring of Dora’s features in his depiction of her mysteriously intense but inscrutably impassive visage reflects the turbulence in Europe during the Second World War.

Three Impressionist paintings from the Estate of Huguette M. Clark sold for a combined $40,927,000 this evening, led by the Monet Nymphéas, that has been in the Clark family for over 85 years. Christie’s has been entrusted with the sale of over 400 items from the Clark Family this spring by the Honorable Ethel J. Griffin, New York County’s Public Administrator, who oversees the estate. Commissioner Griffin commented, “We are pleased with the results Christie’s has achieved for these paintings from the Clark Family collection this evening. The proceeds from tonight’s sale will benefit the Clark Estate and its goal of establishing a charitable foundation devoted to arts and culture. We look forward to the sale of additional property from the Clark Family Collection at Christie’s this June, which will further benefit the Estate.”

The sale also saw strong results from the Collection of Edgar J. Bronfman, the distinguished businessman, philanthropist, and diplomat, whose eight works in the Evening Sale totaled $21,174,000. The collection was led by Picasso’s arcadian work from 1965, Mangeuse de pastèque et homme écrivant, which realized $8,005,000. Additional works from the Bronfman Collection will continue to be sold in New York, London, and Hong Kong throughout the season, as well as in an online-only sale of Pablo Picasso Ceramics, which is open for bidding until May 16.

Sotheby’s NY Impressionist & Modern Art Department, also showed strong results in their latest sale last night.  “A key factor in tonight’s successes was our longstanding relationships with top collectors, and our partnership with them throughout the sale process – the three works from the Private American Collection that led our sale, Monet’s Le Pont japonais, and more were non-competitive consignments. It was a privilege to offer Picasso’s spectacular Le Sauvetage exactly a decade after we last auctioned it in New York, and we are thrilled to see its price double in that time”, stated Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department.

Sotheby’s once again delivered exceptional results on behalf of a great American institution, with Monet’s Sur la Falaise à Pourville selling for well over its high estimate to benefit the Acquisitions Fund of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

The impact of significant bidding and buying from Asian collectors was felt throughout the sale, with eight lots purchased by Asian collectors for a total of $63.9 million – nearly 30% of the auction total o Henri Matisse’s La Séance du matin sold for $19,205,000 to an Asian Private Collector o Claude Monet’s Le Pont japonais sold for $15,845,000 to an Asian Private Collector o Alberto Giacometti’s La Place sold for $13,045,000 to an Asian Private Collector.

The auction was led by three works emerging from a private American collection, which together achieved $57.1 million – surpassing their high estimate of $53 million o Led by Picasso’s Le Sauvetage from 1932 that sold for $31,525,000 after a prolonged bidding battle, soaring over its high estimate of $18 million § Le Sauvetage last sold at auction at Sotheby’s New York a decade ago, in May 2004, when it fetched $14.8 million.

Three works by Claude Monet totaled $28 million, led by Le Pont japonais that sold for $15,845,000 to a private Asian collector after a competition between four bidders o Monet’s Sur la Falaise à Pourville, sold to benefit the Acquisitions Fund of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, achieved $8,229,000, surpassing its high estimate of $7 million o Over the last 3 years, property from American museums has outperformed high estimates by a combined $100 million at Sotheby’s.

Following Sotheby’s enormously successful of works from the estate of Jan Krugier this February in London, 11 additional works from the estate achieved $32.9 million in last night’s sale, in excess of their $26.8 million high estimate o Led by Alberto Giacometti’s Femme de Venise V, which achieved $8,789,000 (est. $6/8 million). All five works by Alberto Giacometti on offer in the auction were sold, for a total of $35.1 million o Led by La Place, Giacometti’s very first multi-figural sculpture, which brought $13,045,000 (est. $12/18 million).

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