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Chagall tops Bonhams Impressionist & Modern Art Auction in New York
Emil Nolde, Bauernrosen und rudbeckien, signed 'Nolde' (lower right), watercolor on paper, 14 1/8 x 18 1/8in. (35.7 x 46.1cm). Painted in 1950. Sold for $170,500. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Marc Chagall’s Les Amoureux aux Fruits ou Deux Tetes was the top lot in Bonhams May 7 Impressionist & Modern Art auction, achieving $362,500. Coming from a Southern California Estate, the ardent and uplifting 1950 composition depicts the artist and his first wife, Bella Rosenfeld, surrounded by spring blooms and sumptuous fruit.

Telephone bidding was extremely popular with both domestic and international clients, bringing bids from the US, Continental Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Asia and the Middle East.

Noteworthy results were seen for many of the lots on offer, particularly mid-to-late 20th century works with prominent provenance. Emil Nolde’s Bauernrosen und Rudbeckien, an impassioned watercolor from the Collection of Hanna and Alfred Fromm, realized $170,500. Executed in 1950, the stunning floral work was also the sale’s cover lot.

Offerings from the Collection of Sir Anthony Quinn were also well received. Massimo Campigli’s 1956 Signora, acquired by the late actor during his most formative period as a collector, achieved $56,250. Also from the Quinn Collection, Linear Oriental, an anthropomorphic 1961 bronze by Alexander Archipenko, realized $56,250.

Works by French artists also saw excellent results. Blanche Hoschede-Monet’s Nympheas, an iconically Impressionist work, heavily influenced by her step-father and father-in-law Claude Monet, more than tripled its pre-sale low estimate to realize $92,500. Marie Laurencin’s mysterious and romantic Femme au Chapeau, from a Private Texas Collection, doubled its pre-sale estimate to sell for $68,500.

Gustav Klimt’s studies for the skeleton in his destroyed masterpiece Medizin, completed circa 1900, also significantly surpassed its estimate, selling for $45,000. Another work on paper to achieve exceptional results was Max Ernst’s 1944 untitled figurative piece, which sold for $24,375.

“We’re pleased with the results today, which underscore the importance of provenance in the marketplace,” said Tanya Wells, Head of Sales, Impressionist & Modern Art Specialist, Bonhams. “Bidders were clearly drawn to exceptional lots on offer.”

Bonhams next auction of Impressionist & Modern Art will take place June 18 in London.

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