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Lauren Bacall's Henry Moore sculptures fetch over $1.3 million at Bonhams
Sold for $1,060,000 million, Henry Moore, Working Model for Reclining Figure: Bone Skirt, 1977-1979 © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2014 /

NEW YORK, NY.- The Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Bonhams on November 4 saw strong bidding at all levels, realizing a total of $4.1 million.

Among the most anticipated lots were two bronzes by Henry Moore, which together sold for $1.34 million. The sculptures were offered from the estate of acclaimed actress Lauren Bacall, who was a friend of the artist.

In a fierce saleroom battle, multiple bidders in the room and on the telephone vied with one another for the sculptures, the final two lots of the auction. The final price of $1,061,000 million, considerably in excess of the high estimate, is a new world record for this model. Working Model for Reclining Figure: Bone Skirt was cast shortly after Bacall and Moore met for the first time in 1976, a meeting Bacall described ‘a highpoint in my life’.

The second bronze, Maquette for Mother and Child: Arms, also climbed past its high estimate, making $281,000. Like the Reclining Figure motif, Moore’s Mother and Child works can be traced back to models made while Moore was still a student at the Royal College of Art in London, and has since become familiar from his many public art projects around the world.

Lauren Bacall became interested in the work of Henry Moore while living in California in the 1950s, when she started buying his lithographs. The pair didn’t meet until 1976, when she visited his studio in Hertfordshire, England. These sculptures, part of her notable collection of art and antiques, adorned the drawing room of her elegant home in New York’s famed Dakota, overlooking Central Park.

Highlights from the main body of the sale include:

· An extraordinary bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin, Iris, messagère des dieux, which leapt past its high estimate of $200,000 to sell for $509,000. The sculpture is hugely important model, which inspired the work of Marcel Duchamp, Willem de Kooning and Francis Bacon, among others;

· A recently rediscovered painting Danseuses et Contrebasse by Edgar Degas, formerly in the noted collection of Hunt Henderson in New Orleans, which sold for $485,000;

· Rhythme coloré by Sonia Delaunay, an abstract composition of saturated color and a superb example of the artist’s mature work, which fetched $134,600.

William O’Reilly, Director of Impressionist and Modern Art, Americas and Asia, commented “Bonhams is delighted with the results of today’s auction. The sale attracted major collectors from around the world and showed the continuing demand for beautiful works of art fresh to the market and with exceptional provenance. Sculpture, in particular, goes from strength to strength, and it was notable that keen interest was generated for many of these works among collectors of Postwar and Contemporary art as well as other fields.”

Bonhams’ next sale of Impressionist & Modern Art will be London in February 2015. Bonhams will also be holding a dedicated sale of property from the Estate of Lauren Bacall in New York in March 2015

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