renoir 88 298.
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Christie's record breaking week of Impressionist and Modern Art and Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions in London realized GBP199,822,480, a record for any week of art sales in Europe. This total marks a 41 percent increase on the corresponding week of auctions in June 2006, which realized 141.5m., the previous highest total.
Top lot of the evening sale was a Francis Bacon portrait which sold for 14m., the second highest price ever for a post-war work of art at auction. Eleven artist records were smashed, including those for Bacon, Burri, Polke, Saura and Sugimoto, as well as Freud and Rothko (for a work on paper). Sixteen works sold for more than 1m. and 30 for more than $1 million. The evening sale was 99% sold by value and 98% by lot against a presale estimate of 39.7m. to 54.4m.
SOTHEBY'S EVENING sale in London hit a record 95m. with 30 lots sold for more than 1m. and 47 for more than $1m. Soutine's Homme au Foulard Rouge, 1921, sold for a record 8.75m., while Renoir's Les Deux Soeurs (a benchmark of Impressionist portraiture) fetched 6.8m.
Edvard Munch's View from Nordstrand, 1900-1, made 3,828,000, more than double its top estimate of 1,500,000. A second Munch, Springtime, made 3,156,000 against a presale estimate of 700,000- 900,000, and his lovely Fields at Ekely made 692,000 against an estimate of 600,000. Wassily Kandinsky's colorful depiction of the main market square in Weilheim, a small town in Upper Bavaria, topped its best estimate at 2,484,000.
MONTEFIORE OF Tel Aviv is holding its next auction of Israeli and International art at the Dan Hotel on February 28. One of the top lots is Mordecai Ardon's 1986 glazed abstraction Morning, which has median estimate of $250,000. A vase of flowers by Reuven Rubin, signed but undated, has a minimum estimate of $80,000. Another vase of flowers, painted by Moise Kisling in 1934, has a median estimate of $50,000. A view of fields above the sea in Provence by Kisling has a beginning target of $45,000. An early landscape of trees by Lesser Ury is an excellent abstract composition ($20,000-$25,000).
A somber little oil of a tinker at work is by Holland's Josef Israels ($12,000-$16,000). A distant view of the Mount of Olives, an oil of Jerusalem rooftops by Ludwig Blum, dated 1966 and thus painted when the hills lay beyond the Green Line dividing the city, starts at $12,000. A bold gestural abstraction by Lea Nikel should reach its upper estimate of $8,000. A portrait by Michael Gross has a similar estimate. One of Raffi Lavie's "childhood" paintings of the mid-1960s will go for half of that. Many of the 275 lots have bargain estimates.
TIROCHE OF Herzliya's recent sale generated a fine total of $1,845,000, with 81% of the lots sold. Yochanan Simon's Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had a modest estimate of $3,000-$4,000 and sold for $13,800. Abel Pann's Dina and Her Brothers sold for $59,800. A Lea Nikel abstraction sold for $ 25,300, more than double its estimate.
SOTHEBY'S TEL AVIV is holding its annual New York sale of Israeli and International art on February 27. There are no great surprises, but the many Rubins - some good, some kitsch - are led by an interesting 1925 landscape that should top $200,000. A minimalist landscape by Ori Reisman is hoped to reach $150,000. There is also a very fine abstraction from 1967 by Lea Nikel that should top $25,000. More about this sale in a future column.
BRITISH FRIENDS of the Art Museums of Israel's (BFAMI) gala dinner and auction will be held at the Banqueting House, Whitehall on March 6 attended by more than 300 major art collectors from London and abroad. Previews will be held at Christie's, St. James's galleries from February 28. Bidding is also available at www.hammersite.com from February 27.