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Swedish Collection of Modern and Contemporary art far surpasses pre-sale expectations at Sotheby's
Tom Wesselmann, Great American Nude No. 5. Signed and dated 61; signed and variously inscribed on the reverse, oil and mixed media collage on board, 122.2 by 122.2cm. 48 by 48in. Estimate: 500,000-700,000 GBP. Lot Sold: 836,450 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Over the course of the last 10 days, Sotheby’s London has offered 33 Modern and Contemporary artworks from a Private Swedish Collection. Together, these works – which were expected to bring £3.7 million (SEK 37 million) – brought £8,750,875 (SEK 87,352,805), with nearly every lot selling in excess of its pre-sale high estimate. The artworks were presented within a series of sales – Surrealist Art Evening, Impressionist & Modern Art Day, and Contemporary Art Evening & Day. A further four works will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s in London in March and June 2013, in auctions of Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints and Important Russian Art, respectively.

Commenting on the results achieved, Peder Isacson, Senior Director, Head of Sotheby’s Scandinavia, said: “During the last fortnight at Sotheby’s we have witnessed stunning prices for this truly unique collection, which encapsulated the very special tradition of collecting in Sweden from the 1950s through the 1970s. The provenance of the works and their freshness to the market proved to be equally attractive to bidders. In their pursuit of quality, collectors competed for the finest works, and the results demonstrate the transforming power of the international auction marketplace. I was delighted to see three works – two sculptures by Henri Laurens and a painting by Albert Gleizes – return to Sweden to take residence in a 21st-century private Swedish collection.”

Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Head of Evening Sale, Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s, continued: “The collections put together in Sweden in the middle of the last century were among some of the best in Europe. Today, collectors respond very positively to Swedish provenance which is synonymous with quality and freshness-to-market. This collection, which has not been seen in public for over 40 years, electrified the auction room last night and demonstrated the insatiable demand for masterpieces of Twentieth Century art.”

Sales Highlights

Surrealist Art Evening Sale, 5 February 2013

Max Ernst’s bronze Jeune homme au coeur battant, executed in the summer of 1944 during the artist’s stay at Long Island, brought £1,138,850 (SEK 11,355,302), almost triple the pre-sale low estimate (£400/600,000).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, 6 February 2013
A work on paper by Marc Chagall, a gouache entitled La Famille and executed in 1954, soared above its pre-sale estimate of £220,000-280,000 to bring £493,250 (SEK 4,903,353). It was purchased by a European Private Collector.

Purchased by an American dealer, Pablo Picasso’s Femme débout, a work on paper executed in pen and ink, wash and crayon on January 2nd 1964, also eclipsed its pre-sale estimate of £200,000-300,000, achieving £481,250 (SEK 4,784,062).

A group of three bronze sculptures by Henri Laurens acquired in 1969, each from a numbered edition of six and comprising La Mère, Femme à l’éventail and La Banderole, achieved a combined total of £987,750 (SEK 9,819,130), against an estimate of £380,000-530,000.

Torse by Alberto Giacometti, conceived by the artist in 1925 and made in a unique stainless steel version at a later date, sold for £289,250 (SEK 2,875,407), against an estimate of £150,000-200,000.

Two examples of bronze furniture by Diego Giacometti performed well. Conceived and cast by the artist in 1985, Guéridon arbre de vie, modèle au hibou, both sold for over three times their pre-sale estimates (£90/120,000 each), selling respectively for £373,250 (SEK 3,710,444) and £313,250 (SEK 3,113,989).

Vaudeville by Albert Gleizes, painted in New York in 1917, brought the strong price of £457,250 (SEK 4,545,480), more than three-times over the pre-sale low estimate (£150/200,000).

Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 12 February 2013
A group of works from the collection opened the Evening sale, comprising six lots by Alexander Calder, Tom Wesselmann and Josef Albers, and bringing a combined total of £3,668,300 (SEK 36,788,803) against a pre-sale estimate of £1.63 – 2.25 million.

An exquisite selection of four works by Calder – acquired during the 1960s and 1970s, and unseen on the market in over forty years – realised a combined total of £2,554,600 (SEK 25,619,681). Untitled, a painted metal and wire standing mobile, executed in 1954, brought the top price, selling for £892,450 (SEK 8,950,240), almost five times above the pre-sale low estimate (est. £150/200,000).

Wesselmann’s oil and mixed media collage on board, Great American Nude No. 5 surpassed its pre-sale estimate of £500,000-700,000 to bring £836,450 (SEK 8,388,625). The work, one of the earliest examples from Wesselmann’s famous eponymous series of the same name, was created in 1961.

Contemporary Art Day Sale, 13 February 2013
Works by César, Germaine Richier, Richard Lindner and Nancy Graves comprised a group in the Contemporary Art Day Sale. The highest price was established by Richier’s La Sauterelle which sold for £61,250 (SEK 610,008).

The Remainder of the Collection to be sold

Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints, 19 March 2013

The spring Prints sale will feature two works by Picasso, Femme au fauteuil no. 1 (est. £40,000-60,000) and Buste de femme à la chaise (est. £6,000-8,000), and Les hommes by Joan Miró (est. £1,000-1,500).

Important Russian Art, 3 June 2013
The June sale of Important Russian Art will offer for sale Natalia Goncharova’s Femme cubiste, painted circa 1920 (est. 600,000-800,000).

Today's News

February 16, 2013

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Swedish Collection of Modern and Contemporary art far surpasses pre-sale expectations at Sotheby's

J. Paul Getty Museum exhibits rare Vermeer masterpiece "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter"

Artist Yoko Ono's largest-ever retrospective opens at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt

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Chinese paintings, calligraphy and fine snuff bottles abound at Bonhams Asian Decorative Arts Auction

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents work of influential American architect Lebbeus Woods

British Museum acquires Trust for African Rock Art collection with support from the Arcadia Fund

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