An Impressionist and Modern art sale at Sotheby’s in New York has raised more than $290m (£180m) This is the second highest result for the auction house, following the sale last year (2012) of Munch’s ‘The Scream’ which set a world auction record for any work of art, realising $119.9 million.
The highest prices achieved last night was for a sculpture by Giacometti which sold for $50m (£31m) and a painting by Picasso Mousquetaire à la pipe”, sold for $30.96m, breaking its $18m estimate and smashing auction records for a late period Picasso. Other Highlights included,Picasso’s 1935 portrait of Marie-Therese Walter which fetched $39.9 million, well above the high estimate of $30 million. Italian Futurist Balla’s “Automobile in Corsa,” a dynamic 1913 Futurist painting, sold for $11.5 million, falling short of the low estimate but still a record for the artist. The sale of two paintings by Francis Picabia broke his previous record of $4.1 million, with “Volucelle II,” a 1922 geometric composition, going for $8.8 million, above the high estimate. It went to a telephone bidder possibly from Latin America.
The sale followed in the path of auctions at Christie’s this week, where some of the top lots went unsold and totals fell below the low part of the pre-sale estimates. A disappointment for the Francois Pinault owned company.
“Tonight’s results speak for themselves and today’s efficient marketplace – collectors have a remarkable understanding not only of quality, but also of value,” commented Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art,New York.
“The key is matching their discerning taste with the right combination of fresh material and responsible estimates, and we did that this evening.” Sale Total: $290,244,000 81.2% Sold by Lot Sale Estimate $212.9/307.9 million New World Auction Records Set for 6 Artists • $290.2 million marks the second-highest total for an evening auction of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s worldwide, following the May 2012 auction in which Edvard Munch’s The Scream set a new world auction record for any work of art at $119.9 million”; he added.
Sotheby’s added that the evening had included record levels of participation from both Asia and Latin America and that they were very pleased with the trend breaking results of the sale.