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Record for Franz Marc Set at Sotheby's
Franz Marc’s Weidende Pferde III sells for a record price of £12.3 ($24.3 ) million - highest price for an Impressionist & Modern work in 2008. © Sotheby's Images.

LONDON.- Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art tonight realized £116,699,900 ($230,517,312) – considerably in excess of the pre-sale estimate of £81,090,000 - 112,110,000. The total realized is the highest for any sale ever staged by Sotheby’s in Europe and the highest total in this category this year. Five lots sold for over £5 million – the highest number of lots ever sold at this level in any European auction; 30 lots were sold for over one million pounds and 47 lots were sold for over $1 million. Four new artist’s records were established, including those for Alexej von Jawlensky and Franz Marc.

Commenting on the sale, Melanie Clore, Co-Chairman Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Worldwide, said: “We are thrilled with tonight’s results, which demonstrate the strong hunger in the market for quality works. The broad international buying from Russia and Asia as well as Europe and the Americas was very much in evidence this evening. The sale was carefully edited with the best offerings across a range of categories, and buyers responded with great enthusiasm.”

The top price achieved this evening was for Franz Marc’s Weidende Pferde III (lot 13), which made £12,340,500 ($24,376,190 ) – doubling the pre-sale low estimate of £6,000,000, and exceeding the record price established at Sotheby’s in New York in November last year (when Der Wasserfall sold for $20,201,000). A magnificent museum quality work, it is the only example from the artist’s iconic paintings of horses still in private hands.

Another powerful German Expressionist work, Schokko mit Tellerhut, (lot 8), by Alexej von Jawlensky was pursued by several determined bidders who drove the price well beyond estimate to a final £9,428,500 ($18,624,116 ). When this same work last appeared on the market (at Sotheby’s New York in 2003) it made $8,296,000 – establishing a record price that was tonight doubled.

These two works were among 25 German and Austrian Expressionist works sold tonight, which together realised a combined total of £39,646,100 ($78,312,941) - the highest sum ever realised for any offering of such works in Europe and well above the pre-sale estimate for the group (£25,170,000 – 33,960,000).

Other periods and schools performed similarly well this evening: Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La Loge (lot 37) - an exquisite version of one of the Courtauld Gallery’s best-loved Impressionist paintings – made £7,412,500 ($14,641,911), three times its pre-sale estimate of £2,500,000–3,500,000.

Pablo Picasso’s striking 1938 portrait of Dora Maar - lot 41, Tête de Femme (La Lectrice – Dora Maar). - which came to sale from the collection of the noted connoisseur, collector and dealer Heinz Berggruen - sold for £7,412,500 ($14,641,911 ) (est: £6,500,000-8,500,000). Also from the Berggruen collection was Picasso’s exquisite Minotaure et Femme from 1937 (lot 42, est: £900,000-1,200,000) which sold for £1,700,500 ($3,358,998).

Alberto Giacometti’s Buste sold for £5,620,500 against an estimate of £2,000,000 – 3,000,000 – the second highest price for a painting by the artist at auction. One of Claude Monet’s early winter landscapes, La Route de la Ferme Saint-Siméon en Hiver (lot 36) of 1867 – made £4,276,500 ($8,447,370) (est: £3,000,000-4,000,000); whilst Paul Cézanne’s Poires et Couteau (lot 35) of 1877–78 from the renowned Joan Whitney Payson collection sold for £2,148,500 against an estimate of £2,000,000–3,000,000.

Continuing the trend of exceptional prices achieved recently for sculptural works at Sotheby’s, a monumental bronze by Henry Moore (Draped Reclining Mother and Baby, 1983, lot 40) tonight sold to a European private collector for £3,716,500 ($7,341,202 ) - the highest price ever achieved for any work by Moore sold in the UK.

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