Impressionist & Modern Art At Sotheby’s Totals £106m Exceeding Expectations

Sotheby’s London Evening Sale held on 19 JUNE 2013  of Impressionist & Modern Art totalled £105,939,000, exceeding its pre-sale high estimate of £74-104 million. The average lot value: was £1,826,534, driven largely by the strength of the diverse offerings – fresh-to-the-market estate property, sculpture, and classic Impressionist works – the sale attracted global competition In the end, 98% of sold lots achieved prices at or above pre-sale estimate, of the 71 lots offered, 58 sold, 24 lots over £1 million

Monet’s 1908 view of Venice, Le Palais Contarini, provided the highpoint of the evening, becoming the top selling work of the London summer season, when it sold in a tense three-way bidding battle for £19,682,500 / $30,828,700/€22,998,940.

Moments earlier in the sale, a pristine example of a quintessential work by Piet Mondrian, Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue (1927) – his most favoured combination – was fiercely contested by five bidders. The winning bid was cast by a telephone bidder and the work fetched a final sum of £9,266,500/ $14,514,119 (est. £4.5-6.5) – a price reflecting the rarity of seminal works by the Dutch artist on the market.

The auction was 81.7% sold by lot and was characterised by broad participation from bidders across 33 different countries on the telephones, in the saleroom and online. The sale saw a record number of participants from Asia in a London Impressionist sale.

Melanie Clore, Sotheby’s Chairman, Europe, said: “We were privileged to have been entrusted with the superb works from great estate collections, which launched tonight’s lively sale. The property from the Collections of Branco Weiss and Stanley Seeger both attracted determined bidders, illustrating the enduring appeal of great property fresh to the market with attractive estimates that come from the homes of collectors renowned for their unfailing eye and assured taste.

“Every sale of works from the Seeger Collection at Sotheby’s over the last twenty years has been received with enormous enthusiasm, and tonight’s results were no exception, with examples of both an early Picasso of 1901 and a later very powerful work on red paper comfortably exceeding their top estimates. These exceptional results set the tone for the further wonderful offerings to come across our forthcoming sales including a beautiful Hockney of 1967 to be sold next week.”

Helena Newman, Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department, Europe, commented: “There was an extraordinary dynamic at play in the sale room. Established collectors – drawn out by the quality of the estate collections presented in the sale – competed with many of the new contenders in today’s market. Record levels of participation were driven by a truly global audience across 33 countries – in particular from Asia – who joined us in the room, on the phone and online. Presented with works of such outstanding quality, many of today’s leading collectors competed vigorously, as was the case with Mondrian’s quintessential composition sought after by no fewer than five bidders. This kind of competition resulted in 98% of lots sold tonight achieving prices at or above estimate.”

Exceptional Estate Collections Draw Participants in Record Numbers

Property from estate collections accounted for half of the lots offered this evening. Works were sought after by multiple bidders in nearly every case, testimony to the enduring appeal of great fresh-to-the-market property from distinguished private collections.

The Analytical Eye: The Branco Weiss Collection

Comprising works that embody the finest achievements of abstract art, the collection of entrepreneur Branco Weiss attracted fierce competition in this evening’s saleroom. While almost two thirds of the sold lots exceeded expectation, as a whole the collection achieved a total of £15,880,500 / $24,873,627 (est. £9.7–13.9 m / $15.1–21.8m).

Property from the Collection of The Late Stanley J. Seeger

Stanley Seeger was one of the greatest collectors of his generation. Tonight, six of his Picassos nearly doubled their combined pre-sale estimate when they sold for £6,287,000 / $9,847,328 (est. £3.2-4.4 million / $5.3-7.3 million).

Further property from the collections will be offered at Sotheby’s London over the coming weeks. Please contact the press office for further information.

Auction Highlights

Tonight’s sale demonstrated the full scope of the Impressionist & Modern category, speaking to the wide-ranging taste of today’s global collectors. The strong results reflected the demand for works across a wide range of schools and media:

Classic Impressionist

Further to the success of Monet’s Le Palais Contarini this evening, two other works by the artist also achieved notable results, both exceeding pre-sale expectations.

Le Pont de Bois, sold for £6,242,500 / $9,777,628 (est. £4-6 m)

L’Église de Vernon, Temps Gris realised £4,562,500 / $7,146,244 (est. £3-4 m)

Works on Paper

Works on paper constituted over a third of the lots offered in the sale, realising £15,353,000 (est. £10.4- 14.3m).

Pablo Picasso’s Étreinte, one of the most vivid compositions executed by Picasso in his later years, doubled its pre-sale estimate to sell for £3,106,500 million/ $4,865,711 / €3,629,936 (est. £1.5-2m).

Wassily Kandinsky’s 1928 work Ineinander set a new auction record for a work on paper by the artist, selling for £1,650,500 / $2,585,178 (est. £600,000-800,000).

The exceptionally rare edition of Pablo Picasso’s most celebrated set of etchings La Suite Vollard sold for £2,658,500 / $4,164,009, a new record for a Vollard Suite set.


All 13 sculptures offered in the auction found a buyer tonight, realising a total of combined total of £16,052,500 (est. £5.9 – £10.6 million).

A new auction record for Camille Claudel was established when La Valse, Première Version sold for £5,122,500 / $8,023,372 (est. £1.5 – 2 million), beating the previous record of $1,865,000 established at Sotheby’s New York earlier this year.***

Henry Moore’s Working model for draped reclining mother and baby outstripped its pre-sale estimate of £1.3-2 million to realise £3,554,500 / $5,567,413.

Collectors battled for Barbara Hepworth’s 1959 bronze, Serene Head (Thea) which sold for over five times its pre-sale estimate £386,500 / $605,375 (est. £50,000- 70,000).

Surrealist Works

Surrealist works in the sale totalled £16,258,500 (est. £10.5 – 14.8m), led by René Magritte’s L’Idée realised £4,562,500 / $7,146,244 (est. £1.8-2.5 million)

Auction Records

Camille Claudel, La Valse, £5,122,500 / $8,023,372 (est. £1.5-2 million)

Františk Kupka, Étude sur fond rouge £1,930,500 / $3,023,742 (est. £700,000 – 1 million).

For a work on paper by Wassily Kandinsky, Ineinander £1,650,500 / $2,585,178 (est.


For a Suite Vollard by Pablo Picasso, £2,658,500 / $4,164,009 (est. £1.4/1.8 million)

Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale Statistics

Sale Total: £105,939,000 / $165,932,256 / €123,789,394 (est. £74.5-104.9 m / $116.7-164.3m / €87- 122.6 m)

Percentage sold by lot: 81.7%  Percentage sold by value: 90.8%

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