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Christie's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale and the Art of the Surreal total $169,998,251
Paul Gauguin, Te Fare (La maison), 1892. Estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000. Price realised GBP 20,325,000 / USD 25,263,975 © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

LONDON.- The Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale and Art of the Surreal launched 20th Century at Christie’s, achieving a combined total of £136,874,598 / $169,998,251 / €160,143,280. The evening saw an electric start with lively bidding for Portrait de Lluis Alemany, a work dating from the very beginning of Picasso’s career (£773,000 / $960,066 / €904,410), and continued with Berthe Morisot’s Femme en noir or Avant le théâtre, which achieved £2,045,000 / $2,539,890 / €2,392,650 against a pre-sale estimate of £600,000-800,000 / $760,000-1,000,000 / €710,000-940,000 and Femme et enfant au balcon also by Morisot, which more than doubled its high estimate to realise £4,085,000 / $5,073,570 / €4,779,450. The nine further works from the Personal Collection of Barbara Lambrecht, including paintings by Kees van Dongen, Raoul Dufy, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Félix Vallotton, each sold above estimate with the group totalling £15,945,000 / £19,803,690 / £18,655,650, to date, with all proceeds benefitting the Rubens Prize Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art Siegen. The top work of the evening was Paul Gauguin’s highly sought after Te Fare (La maison), which sold for £20,325,000 / $25,243,650 / €23,780,250, while René Magritte’s La corde sensible set a new world record at auction for the artist of £14,441,348 / $17,936,155 / €16,896,378, with Le domaine d’Arnheim becoming the third highest price for Magritte at auction (£10,245,000 / $12,724,290 / €11,986,650), confirming that works by Surreal artists continue to inspire collectors globally. Determined bidding was seen for three oil paintings that trace Le Corbusier’s artistic career from the 1920s to the 1940s from the Heidi Weber Museum Collection. With outstanding sell through rates of 92% by lot and 96% by value there was high energy felt in the first auctions of 20th Century at Christie’s. Registered bidders from 39 countries across five continents demonstrate continued global interest from buyers with notable bidding from Asia.

Jay Vincze, Head of the Impressionist & Modern Art Department, Christie’s London: “The exceptional sell through rates demonstrate that works from prestigious collections such as the Personal Collection of Barbara Lambrecht and the Heidi Weber Museum Collection engage collectors internationally. The sales showcased works from early Impressionism through to the Modernism and Abstraction of Le Corbusier and interest was strong across the evening with active bidding for masterpieces by Gauguin and Monet as well as for works by the female Impressionists Berthe Morisot and Eva Gonzalès, which sold well over their estimates. The totals achieved of £136,874,598 / $169,998,251 / €160,143,280 for the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale and Art of the Surreal confirm that the global appetite of buyers continues to be strong.”

Olivier Camu, Deputy Chairman, Impressionist & Modern Art, Christie’s: “The works offered in the 16th edition of the Art of the Surreal were by the broadest selection of artists we have offered and saw a world record at auction achieved for René Magritte’s La corde sensible which realised £14,441,348 / $17,936,155 / €16,896,378. Magritte’s Le domaine d’Arnheim, once part of the collection of the esteemed patron of the arts and collector Edward James, also excelled the previous record to now become the third highest price, realising £10,245,000 / $12,724,290 / €11,986,650. Together with works from the Art Institute of Chicago and the family of Max Ernst, the exceptional provenance of the works was matched by an international passion for Surreal art. Reflecting the highest quality of works offered, the sell through rate of 98% by value is the highest ever achieved.”

The Barbara Lambrecht Collection Sold to Benefit the Rubens Prize Collection in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen achieved a combined total of £15,945,000 / £19,803,690 / £18,655,650, to date, and continues her profound and longstanding philanthropic engagement for social and educational projects, classical music, theatre and the arts. The group was led by Berthe Morisot’s Femme et enfant au balcon with additional highlights such as Monet’s Les Bords de la Seine au Petit-Gennevilliers, a landscape painted in the immediate aftermath of the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, which achieved £3,525,000 / $4,378,050 / €4,124,250, Eva Gonzalès’s Portrait de Jeanne Gonzalès (£137,000 / $170,154 / €160,290), Femme au manchon by Félix Vallotton which more than doubled its high estimate to sell for £389,000 / $483,138 / €455,130 and Kees van Dongen’s Deux anges (£989,000 / $1,228,338 / €1,157,130). Further works from the collection will be sold on 1 March in the Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper and Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale. The group of three oil paintings by Le Corbusier from the Heidi Weber Museum Collection were in high demand with competitive bidding on the phone and in the room, they were led by Nature morte et figure, painted by the artist in 1927, who returned to it in 1938 and again in 1944 (£3,301,000 / $4,099,842 / €3,862,170).

Further highlights from the evening included Paul Delvaux’s Le village des sirènes (£3,077,000 / $3,821,634 / €3,600,090), sold by the Art Institute of Chicago, Yves Tanguy’s La lumière, la solitude, which more than doubled its high estimate of £700,000 to achieve £1,565,000 / $1,943,730 / €1,831,050), La magie noire by Magritte (£1,625,000 / $2,018,250 / €1,901,250), Portrait érotique voilè by Max Ernst, sold by the artist’s family (£2,285,000 / $2,837,970 / €2,673,450 and Francis Picabia’s Statices (£2,045,000 / $2,539,890 / €2,392,650), an example of his celebrated ‘Transparency’ paintings.

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