Auctions: London over the moon

The auctioneers are over the moon. Christie's London sales of Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art totaled a stunning $206m., the highest week's take ever in Christie's London.

picasso 88 298 (photo credit: )
picasso 88 298
(photo credit: )
The auctioneers are over the moon. Christie's London sales of Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art totaled a stunning GBP128m. ($206m.), the highest week's take ever in Christie's London. The Impressionist and Modern achieved its highest total since 1989, as did the parallel Sotheby's sale. The market came alive as buyers galore threw big money around. Christie's evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art, German and Austrian Art and The Art of the Surreal in London achieved a fine total of GBP61,645,200 ($108,186,970). The top selling lot was Cha m Soutine's Side of Beef, circa 1924, which realized GBP7,848,000 ($13,773,000), setting a new auction record for the artist. The sale was 74 percent sold by lot and 85% sold by value. Twenty-seven works sold for over $1m. Claude Monet's La Seine Ve'theuil, 1881, realized GBP2,696,000 ($4,731,480), while Edgar Degas's Les points, 1877-78, sold for GBP2,136,000 ($3,748,680). Pierre-Auguste Renoir's early painting of his older brother, Portrait de Pierre-Henri Renoir, 1870, did very well at GBP2,024,000 ($3,552,120), and one of the last and most fully developed of Georges Braque's early and cubist landscapes L'e'glise de Carri res Saint Denis, 1909, sold for GBP1,520,000 ($2,667,600). The German and Austrian Art section brought GBP24.5m. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's double-sided canvas Frauenbildnis in weissem Kleid (Woman in a white dress), 1908, considered to be one of his finest early paintings and on the reverse, Adam und Eva, painted in 1911, was the top lot in the section, selling for GBP4,936,000 ($8,662,680) and setting a new world auction record for the artist. Egon Schiele's dramatic colored drawing Kniender weiblicher Halbakt (Kneeling female half-nude), 1917, sold for GBP4,152,000 ($7,286,760), setting a new auction record for the artist in this medium; while the wonderfully colorful Heinrich Campendonk, Cow and Calf, 1914, made GBP1,688,000 ($2,962,440) and set an auction record for the artist. Other notable lots were Alexej von Jawlensky's stylized portrait of his lover, Helene Neznakomova, Dark Eyes, 1912, which sold for a terrific GBP3,144,000 ($5,517,720). Kirchner's powerful Berlin Street Scene, 1914/1922, made GBP2,136,000 ($3,748,680). A newly discovered George Grosz, one of his first oil paintings, the viciously droll Cafe'haus, 1915, realized GBP904,000 ($1,586,520). The top lot in the Surreal section that totaled GBP10.7m. was Salvador Dal 's Galate'e, 1954-1956, which sold for GBP1,464,000 ($2,569,320). An auction record was established by Andre' Masson's Vue emble'matique de Tol de, 1933-39, considered one of the most important paintings by the artist to come up at auction, which made GBP1,016,000 ($1,783,080). Other notable lots included the early Giorgio de Chirico metaphysical painting, I pesci sacri, 1919 (The Sacred Fish), which realized GBP1,240,000 ($2,176,200), and Joan Mir 's spectacular Untitled, circa 1934, which sold for GBP792,000 ($1,389,960). The highest ever total for a Christie's Post-War and Contemporary art evening sale in Europe was achieved when 58 lots realized GBP37,038,000 ($64,557,234), selling 94% by lot and 99% by value! Ten new world auction records were set and 10 works of art sold for over $1m. Buyer activity in the sale was 66% European, 30% American, 2% Asian and 2% Middle East. The Self-Portrait, 1969, by Francis Bacon more than trebled pre-sale expectation, selling for GBP5,160,000 ($8,993,880). Bacon's Study from Portrait of Pope Innocent X by Velazquez, 1959, realized GBP5,160,000 ($8,993,880). Lucian Freud's superb Man in a String Chair, 1988-89, achieved GBP4,152,000 ($7,235,936), equaling his auction record established at Christie's in February 2005. The Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale doubled pre-sale expectations to total GBP9.2m. ($16m.). The week culminated at Christie's South Kensington with the superb sale of the Valerie Beston Collection, that realized GBP1,576,020 ($2,750,155). SOTHEBY'S LONDON sales also delighted the auctioneers. The Impressionist and Modern art evening sale, which also incorporated a section dedicated to German and Austrian art, as well as a group of Surrealist works, surpassed Christie's with a total of GBP68,692,800 ($120,212,400). Eight new records were set, with 27 works selling for over GBP1m. and 34 for more than $1m. Top lot was Paul Gauguin's Deux Femmes, 1902, a superb late Gauguin sold to a private UK buyer for GBP12,328,000 ($21,574,000). A group of eight works by Edvard Munch from the Olsen collection made a combined total of GBP16,897,600, more than double their combined pre-sale estimate. Munch's Summer's Day went for an unexpected GBP6,168,000 ($10,794,000), a record for the artist. Joan Mir 's L'Oiseau au plumage de'ploye' vole vers l'arbre argente' made a great GBP5,160,000 ($9,030,000). Pablo Picasso's Homme la Pipe went for GBP3,144,000 ($5,502,000), while Vlaminck's Le Pont de Chatou made GBP1,632,000 ($2,856,000). The 27 German and Austrian lots brought GBP16,209,600 ($28,366,800). Top lot was Max Liebermann's Blumenstauden vor dem G rtnerh uschen nach Norden at GBP2,136,000, a record for the artist and more than double its pre-sale high estimate. Emil Nolde's Blumengarten: Steifm tterchen of 1908 made GBP1,912,000, also establishing a new record for the artist.