Auctions: The week they spent $848m.

Last week's evening sale at Christie's New York of Impressionist and Modern Art realized an all-time record for any single evening auction.

kirchner painting 298.88 (photo credit: )
kirchner painting 298.88
(photo credit: )
Last week's evening sale at Christie's New York of Impressionist and Modern Art realized an astonishing $491,472,000, an all-time record for any single evening auction. Nine new world auction records were set for Klimt, Schiele, Kirchner, Gauguin and Balthus. Buyers by lot (not value) were 39.5% American, 42.5% European, 4% Asian, 1.5% Russian, 3% Latin American and 9.5% other. Altogether Christie's New York sales last week totaled $550,362,600, an unprecedented figure in the history of art auctioneering. The week of sales finished on November 9 with two more totals that beat all previous records: the Works on Paper sale held in the morning realized $13.8m. and the Impressionist and Modern Art day sale achieved a fine $45.1m. The Christie's evening sale figure would have been even higher if Picasso's astonishing 1903 portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto had not been withdrawn at the last minute. Consigned by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to raise money for charitable purposes, it carried an estimate of $40m.-$60m. Last week, the oil was the subject of a failed court order brought by heirs demanding restitution. The four restituted Klimt paintings collectively brought $192,704,000. Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II realized $87,936,000, the third highest price ever achieved at auction for any painting; Birch Forest $40,336,000; Apple Tree I$33,056,000; and Unterach Houses$31,376,000. Paul Gauguin's L'Homme la h che, one of the first paintings the artist executed upon arrival in Tahiti, was bought for $40,336,000, a new world auction record for the artist. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Berliner Strassenszene, restituted to the heirs of Alfred and Thekla Hess, the best of a series of 11 paintings of Berlin streetwalkers, fetched $38,096,000 and broke the previous record for the artist set at Christie's London in February of this year. The painting was bought by the Neue Galerie of New York. Three superb works by Egon Schiele consigned by the Neue Galerie sold well. Two watercolors, Zwei M dchen auf einer Fransendecke and Kniender Halbakt nach links gebeugt realized $5,616,000 and $11,216,000, respectively. The magisterial oil Einzelne H user (H user mit Bergen) realized $22,416,000 and set a new world auction record for the artist. Other highlights in the sale were Modigliani's V nus($15,920,000); Fernand L ger's fabulous Trois Personages ($8,976,000); Matisse's Nature Morte from the Lewisohn Collection ($3,600,000); Hodler's Thunersee mit Niesen ($3,936,000); and the two Mondrian studies for Broadway Boogie Woogie($3,264,000 and $2,144,000) from the estate of Arnold Newman, which broke the world auction record for a work on paper by the artist. Works formerly in the collection of Janice Levin, sold to benefit the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, realized $20,470,400. SOTHEBY'S EVENING sale of Impressionist and Modern Art brought a fine $238,670,000, the highest total for a sale in this category at Sotheby's since May 1990. Top lot was for a stunning still-life by Paul C zanne, which sold for $36,976,000. That price was closely followed by the $31,096,000 for Amedeo Modigliani's compelling Le Fils du Concierge,the result of a dramatic duel. However Modi's great portrait of Paul Guillaume scraped home at just $4.8m. Van Gogh's wonderful oil Pair of Shoes brought nearly $9m. Auction records were established for Erich Heckel, Lynn Chadwick, Barbara Hepworth and for a work on paper by douard Vuillard. There was much competition for the Kandinsky landscape, the female nude by Heckel and the portrait by Jawlensky. Sculpture also brought strong prices. A rare example of Henri Matisse's Figure d corative, sold for $12,896,000. Alberto Giacometti's Grande Femme Assise (Annette Assise), a bold depiction of the artist's wife, Annette Arm, from the collection of Charles and Rose Wohlstetter, brought $4,272,000. The record for British sculptor Lynn Chadwick was broken twice, when Pair of Walking Figures: Jubilee,1977, and Seated Couple, 1984, from the Vanthournout Collection sold for $1,472,000 and $1,864,000, respectively. Also from the Vanthournout Collection was Barbara Hepworth's Ultimate Formwhich sold for $2,648,000, also a record for the artist at auction. Among an offering of bold, graphic works by Pablo Picasso was Le Fumeur, which sold for $10,656,000. The spectacular vista of Starnberger See(Lake Starnberg) by Wassily Kandinsky went to a bidder on the phone for $9,088,000. It was painted during the artist's stay in Murnau in 1908. Erich Heckel's marvelously composed Akt (Dresden) (Nude-Dresden); Stilleben Mit Pflanzen (Still Life with Plants):a double sided painting, surpassed a high estimate of $3.2 million to sell for $3,600,000, a record for the artist at auction. Appearing at auction for the first time was Le Partie de cartesby Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, which sold for $8,528,000. The present oil of two women playing a hand of cards is among the most well-known of the great series of the artist's depictions of women in Parisian brothels. Sotheby's day sales added nearly another $60m. to its take. All in all, bidders at both Christie's and Sotheby's parted with a staggering $848m. in the course of a single week.