Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art totalled £87.5 million / $115.7 million tonight in London, with collectors demonstrating interest in a wide range of material spanning the entire field, as well as a broad spectrum of media.
PICASSO & GIACOMETTI: TWO MODERN MASTERS
Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti stand shoulder-to-shoulder as two of the universally acknowledged greats of the modern era. Tonight they led the sale:
The auction was led by Buste de femme de profil (Femme écrivant) from the artists year of wonders, 1932, which sold for over ten times the £2.4 million it achieved when last at auction in 1997. At £27.3 million / $36.1 million, it brought the total for the four works by Picasso offered this evening to £40 million / $53 million. Auction sales of works by Picasso at Sothebys worldwide this year have reached $232 million.
A rare departure from Giacomettis usual themes of male and female figures, his evocative and elegant Le Chat sold for £12.6 million / $16.7 million. Subsequent to this rendition of a cat, a dog and two horses in 1951, Giacometti never turned his hand to sculpting animals again. Also by Giacometti, the highly expressive Buste de Diego was sold to a Japanese collector in its auction debut for £2.9 million / $3.8 million (est. £2.5-3.5 million).
The sale was peppered with a number of great classic Impressionist paintings, with demand from across the globe. Appearing at auction for the first time, Claude Monets dazzling La Méditerranée par vent de mistral sold for £7.2 million / $9.5 million (est. £6.5-8.5 million), a triumphant example of the artists mastery over land and sea-scapes.
Camille Pissarros Le boulevard Montmartre, brume du matin, from the artists most celebrated series of urban views, was acquired by an Asian private collector for £3.5 million / $4.6 million (est. £3-5 million).
Last seen at auction in 1875, Pierre-Auguste Renoirs atmospheric Après la tempête (temps dorage), a rare example of the artists early work, brought an above-estimate £610,000 / $806,664 (est. £350,000-450,000). The painting hailed from a prestigious private European collection put together in the first half of the 20th century.
WORKS ON PAPER
An auction first was a ravishing portrait of Bloomsbury icon Mary Hutchinson by Henri Matisse one of only a handful of works by the artist ever created of a British sitter. Offered from the estate of the her son, the renowned criminal lawyer Lord Hutchison of Lullington Q.C., the 1936 drawing sold for £3.1 million / $4.1 million (est. £2-3 million).
Marc Chagalls Les amoureaux en bleu got the sale off to a soaring start, pursued by ten bidders who took the price to £1.2 million / $1.5 million (est. £300,000-500,000). A large-scale gouache by René Magritte, La belle captive, brought £922,000 / $1.2 million (est. £700,000-1,000,000).
FURTHER NOTABLE RESULTS
Wassily Kandinskys 1910 depiction of his lover Gabriele Münter Painting in front of her Easel, formerly in the collection of fellow painter Alexej von Jawlensky, was contested by three bidders to sell for £5.3 million / $7 million (est. £3-5 million).
In the same private Japanese collection since the 1930s, Fleurs dans un panier by Paul Gauguin doubled its estimate to sell for £2.3 million / $3 million to a Russian private collector (est. £1-1.5 million).
The Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale follows tomorrow: est. £16.4-23.5 million / $22.1-31.6 million / 18.6-26.7 million (276 lots).