Impressionist and Modern Art sale yesterday (4th February) has set a new world record for a Salvador Dali bronze sculpture among a number of outstanding results. A frenzy of international interest from the packed saleroom, online and on the telephones drove seven of the top ten lots to double, or even triple, their estimates. A great buzz from the telephone bidders set the tone:
Elephant de Triomphe by Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989) triumphed today as it sold for a staggering £446,500 setting a new world record price for a bronze by the artist. The previous record (£313,000) was blown out of the water by the colossal cast bronze emerald elephant which stands at almost 3metres in height. Elephants were used by Dalí as a symbol of the future recurring atop mosquito-like legs in many of his paintings. A golden angel lands on the elephants jewelled saddle a shining fanfare promising a future with great fortune.
Another highlight in the sale was Almen im Marz, Alfons Waldes wintery work showing an Austrian chalet in the snow which sold for £278,500 triple its estimates. Bids flew in a continuous stream as multiple telephone bidders and bidders in the room pulled the auctioneers attention in all directions.
Other top lots were two works by Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983). Femme, étoile, which translates as Woman, Star, realised £212,500. Femme, oiseau, étoile (Woman, bird, star) was another work in high demand from bidders in the room. A lengthy stand off between two telephones took the final price to £91,300 three times higher than its estimates.
A necklace by the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray (American, 1890-1976) La jolie Pendant realised an incredible £47,000 after an impressive battle between three persistent parties.