Surrealism shines at Christie's as sales total $79.4 million

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Surrealism shines at Christie's as sales total $79.4 million
René Magritte, (1898-1967), L'autre son de cloche. Painted in 1951. Price realized: $10,122,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2022.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s Spring 2022 Marquee Week began its final day of live sales on Saturday, May 14 with The Surrealist World of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs & Melvin Jacobs at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The sale totaled $42.3 million, bringing the week’s running total to $1.43 billion. The exquisite collection of objects saw lively and spirited international bidding with participation from 16 countries from buyers on the phones, online, and in the room. Man Ray’s iconic masterpiece Le Violon d’Ingres was the top lot of the sale, setting a new record for a photograph, selling for $12.4 million to a buyer on the phone. Results were exceptional throughout, with the auction selling 99% by value and 92% by lot, 182% hammer above low estimate.

New artist records were set for a number of artists including Dorothea Tanning, whose Le mal oublié tripled its estimate to sell for $1,440,000. The Copleys saw successful results in the categories of both art and jewelry; William Nelson Copley achieved a new artist record, and each lot of the exquisite Noma Copley-designed jewelry achieved a phenomenal price, with all results far surpassing the high estimate. In total, seven of the 77 lots on offer in the sale sold above $1 million, including four fantastic examples by Rene Magritte including L'autre son de cloche, which far exceeded its high estimate to sell for $10,122,500.

Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie’s Americas, commented, “We were honored to exhibit the collection of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs and Melvin Jacobs this season. We have seen a vibrance in the art market for a range of categories this spring, and in particular there has been a strong emergence of interest in Surrealism. This collection featured an absolutely unmatched group within the category, containing art objects spanning multiple mediums, including photography, painting, sculpture, jewelry and ephemera. It was a true pleasure to steward the storied Jacobs Collection in what was a banner week for Christie’s.”

Allegra Bettini, Head of Sale and Specialist, Impressionist and Modern Art, remarked, “We were honored to welcome our clients into the Surrealist World of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs and Melvin Jacobs this spring. The Jacobs collection was a dream to work with—almost a surreal experience in and of itself. Each artwork, object and photograph had its own unique story and significance within the canon of Dada and Surrealism. We were thrilled with the market’s reception of the collection with the world record prices achieved for Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning, William Copley and Noma Copley works as well as the fervent international bidding for René Magritte. It is clear today that, a century after its inception, Surrealism is as coveted as ever.”

Darius Himes, Christie’s International Head of Photographs, remarked, “Photography has been the invention and medium quietly underpinning and influencing much of the art and popular culture of the 20th century. Surrealism as an artistic movement has seeped into our consciousness, and no work more so than Man Ray’s Le Violon d’Ingres from 1924. Long seen as an icon of 20th century art, this purely photographic work is truly unrivalled, and, appearing on the market for the very first time in its history, has now smashed all records for any photographic piece at auction, vintage or contemporary, as well as all Man Ray auction records in any medium. And why not? Man Ray, and this piece in particular, stands comfortably within the pantheon of other giants of 20th century art.”

Immediately following the Jacobs Collection single owner sale was the Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper and Day Sale, which totaled $37.1 million. The sale, which featured a selection of works by Impressionist and Modern masters across all mediums, was 87% by value, 85% by lot, 103% hammer above low estimate. The top lot of the sale was a fantastic oil painting by Claude Monet, Soleil couchant, temps brumeux, Pourville, which achieved $5.1 million, a record for the highest work ever sold in a Day Sale in the Impressionist and Modern Art category at Christie’s.

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