Sotheby's evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York totaled a brilliant $278.5 million, the second highest total for an auction in the firm's 263-year history. It was second only to the total achieved in May 1990.
Top lot of the sale was a stunning watercolor by Paul C zanne from the private collection of Giuseppe Eskenazi which sold for $25.5m., a record for a work on paper by the artist at auction. A record price of $23.2m. was realized by Lyonel Feininger's spectacular Jesuiten III, the cover lot of the evening sale and the subject of an intense bidding battle before selling to a round of applause.
Additional auction records were established for Marino Marini and Theo van Doesburg and for works on paper by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Giacomo Balla. The sale was over 90 percent sold by lot and value, with 36 works selling for more than $1m.
THE EVENING sale at Christie's did nearly as well, taking in $236.4m. Alberto Giacometti's L'homme qui chavire set a new world auction record for the artist at $18.5m., while Juan Gris's Le pot de g ranium went to $18.5m., doubling the previous world auction record for the artist. Arri re du Tub by Paul Signac set the second highest price for a Pointillist work and a new auction record at $11.6m. In all, five world auction records were set, 52 works sold above $1 million, and 69% of the lots sold surpassed their presale high estimates. Buyers were 29% American, 48% European, 2% Asian and 21% others.
Giacometti's quintessential Femme de Venise I, the first sculpture of the series bearing the name, achieved $3.7m. Joan Mir 's Projet pour un monument, 1981, tripled a presale estimate of $3.5m.-$5m. when it sold to a European dealer for $9,896,000, eight times the previous world auction record for a sculpture by the artist.
Picasso's monumental T te et main de femme, 1921, fetched $18.5m. This neo-classical painting depicts his wife Olga, who inspired Picasso to make his first neoclassical oil painting in 1917.
Doris Grosse was Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's lover and favorite model during his Dresdner years and the model for the powerful and sensual Dodo mit grossem F cher, 1910, which sold for a deserved $12,920,000.
The sale offered a superb group of early Van Gogh drawings from a private collection, which also comprised two Rodin sculptures and a bronze by Maillol and achieved $14.5m.