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Christie's New York evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art totaled a splendid $161 million, the highest total for an Evening Sale at Christie's since May 1990. The sale was 90 percent sold by value and 92% by lot, with 82% of the lots selling within or above their estimated value. Buyers were 38% American, 47% European, 10% Asian and 5% other; and four world auction records were set.
Top lot was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's La Blanchisseuse, one of his more stolid early works but beautifully painted. It went to an anonymous bidder for $22,416,000 and set a new world auction record for the artist.
One of the evening's most iconic images was Claude Monet's Nymph as, painted in 1907. It realized $14,016,000.
C zanne's early still-life Pommes et G teaux, effortlessly swept by its conservative $3.5 -$ 4.5 pre-sale estimate, was acquired in the room for $10,320,000. Mir 's Le soleil rouge ronge l'araign e, painted in 1948 after an eight-month stay in the United States, brought $7,744,000.
Property from the collection of Lee V. Eastman totaled $16,475,200 and was 100% sold; highlights included Alberto Giacometti's Buste de Diego ($3,600,000); a bronze by Matisse Grand nu accroupi (Olga) ($1,472,000); and Picasso's Buste de Femme ($6,736,000). Property from the collection of Edward R. Broida achieved $8,384,000 and was led by Brancusi's Le Baiser, which sold for $3,600,000. Other Broida highlights were Henri Laurens's Le Matin, which sold for $1,472,000 and Jean Arp's Sculpture de silence, Corneille, which realized $1,472,000, both world auction records.
Other hits of the evening were Picasso's Sylvette au fauteuil vert ($8,080,000); Modigliani's portrait, Mo se Kisling seduto ($5,616,000); Picasso's formidable Buveuse accoud e ($6,288,000); and Fernand L ger's Esquisse pour 'Le Grand Dejeuner ($4,832,000).
THERE WAS applause at Sotheby's New York evening sale of Imps and Mods when Pablo Picasso's Yellow Nude, a study for Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, sold for $13,736,000. As we predicted, this work on paper far eclipsed its top estimate of $4m. The sale of Impressionist and Modern Art totaled $130,126,000 (est. $90.2/$125.5 million). The Picasso was one of six works from the Ford Collection which brought a total of $23,726,400, far above the pre-sale estimate of $6.8/$9.1 million.
At this sale, 30 works sold above their high estimates with 32 works bringing more than $1m. each. The sale was 95% sold by value and 87% sold by lot. Auction records were established for Berthe Morisot, whose Cache-Cache passed its estimate to sell for $5,168,000; and for Conrad Felixmuller, whose portrait of the aging Clemens Braun sold for an unexpected $1,136,000.
Also from the Ford Collection was Alexej Jawlensky's striking 1912 portrait of a Sicilian woman with a green shawl, which sparked frenzied bidding between seven bidders, finally selling to a telephone bidder for $5,168,000. Also from 1912 was Picasso's Guitare, Verre, Bouteille de Vieux Marc, a still life executed at the height of the Cubist period, which sold for $3.7m.
Le Grand Canal by Claude Monet, which came from another private collection, sold for $12,896,000 to a bidder on the telephone. It was one of 37 Venetian views that the artist painted in the autumn of 1908. Also among the top 10 lots that evening was Henri Matisse's sensuous Robe jaune et robe arlequin (Nezy et Lydia), which brought nearly $11m.
The sale also included works consigned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art sold to benefit its acquisitions fund. In total, the six works brought $11,408,000, above a pre-sale estimate of $6.8/$10.3 million. The offering included Modigliani's Portrait of Manuel Humbert Est ve, a Spanish landscape painter from Barcelona whom Modigliani met in Paris, which brought $5,504,000.
All prices include buyer's premiums. Sotheby's buyer's premium is 20% of the hammer price on the first $200,000, and 12% thereafter.
FOREVER INTERNATIONAL Auction Company Limited (Forever) held its inaugural sale of Fine Modern and Contemporary Chinese Paintings at The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing last week. There was spirited bidding and a spectacular $12.1m. was achieved. Christie's had agreed to lend its name to Forever for this auction.