The sale total on June the 4th, of 23.8 million ($32,4 million), was Sothebys
highest-ever for a sale of Impressionist & Modern Art in Paris, with nearly 60% of lots clearing top-estimate offering clear evidence that the Modern Art market remains dynamic and keen on emblematic market-fresh works.
A fierce battle between six bidders from around the world propelled Amedeo Modiglianis masterly Portrait of Paul Alexandre to 13,537,500 ($18,401,118) a new record for the artist in France. This famous painting from 1911/12, which had never previously appeared on the market, portrays Modiglianis first and most important patron in the years after his arrival in France in 1907. The works new owner declared himself delighted to have acquired one of the leading portraits of the 20th century by any artist.
Aurélie Vandevoorde, Director of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sothebys France said, The exceptional price achieved by the Modigliani sets a new benchmark for male portraits by the artist painted before 1914. Its freshness and quality aroused the interest of the worlds foremost collectors.
A number of other high prices were obtained during the sale for iconic works of modern art seldom seen at auction.
Georges Braques exquisite Still Life with Cherries from 1936, a period from his oeuvre seldom seen on the market, obtained 1,261,500 ($1,714;,719) a price in keeping with its rarity and quality (lot 19, est. 600,000-800,000).
Pablo Picassos The Artist and his Model (1964), a work of stupefying energy laced with eroticism, fetched the sales second-highest price of 3,009,500 ($4,090,723) (lot 23, est. 2.2-2.8m).
The sale also featured a superb ensemble of drawings by Amedeo Modigliani, including a Portrait of Paul Alexandre in three-quarter profile with his left hand in his pocket (1909) showcasing the artists incomparable virtuoso technique, that sped by past top-estimate to 505,500 ($687,111) (lot 10, est. 200,000-300,000); and a 1913 blue crayon Tête de Cariatide that climbed to 313,500 ($377,197) (lot 13, est. 120,000-180,000).