Wed, Jul 1, 2015

Art & Auctions
Modern art sale fetches $282m

A Sotheby’s sale of impressionist and modern art has achieved the second-highest total for any sale ever held in London, UK.

The June 24 evening sale realised a total of £178.6 million ($282.1 million) over a pre-sale estimate of £140.3-203.2 million ($221.5-320 million) and was led by Gustav Klimt’s 1902 Portrait of Gertrud Loew, which sold for £24.8 million ($39.1 million), setting the second highest price for a portrait by the artist at auction.

Eightyfour per cent of the works were sold by lot and an unprecedented seven works sold for over £10 million ($15.6 million).

The sale also saw a new record for any sculpture by Edgar Degas, with his Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (1922) fetching £15.8 million ($24.9 million).

The strong total follows recent exceptional results in both Sotheby’s London and New York over the last year. In November 2014, Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York fetched a record $422.1 million, the highest total in company history, while a May 2015 New York sale notched up $386.3 million, the second-highest in company history

A February 2015 London sale, meanwhile, fetched £186.5 million ($280.1.8 million), the highest total for any auction held in London.

Melanie Clore, Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe & Co-Chairman Worldwide, Impressionist & Modern Art, says: “The result is testament to the truly outstanding quality of the works on offer. To follow our highest totals for Impressionist and Modern art sales in New York, with another sensational sale in London, emphasises the strength of what is undoubtedly a truly global market. Our worldwide network of specialists are working with a broader collector base than ever before, so whether it’s New York, London, or any of our worldwide selling locations, we are seeing incredibly strong results across the board.”

Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Co-Head, Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide, says: “The sale was led by three exceptional restituted works, each of the highest calibre and each with its own story to tell. Over recent years advances in the process restitution have added a new dimension to our sales, bringing to the market outstanding works such as those offered by Klimt, Liebermann and Malevich. It’s hugely rewarding to see these paintings such strong prices achieved for the heirs of their original owners.”

Restituted works led the sale.

Gustav Klimt’s 1902 Portrait of Gertrud Loew (Gertha Felsőványi) sold after a ten-minute bidding battle for £24.8 million ($39.1 million), the second highest price for a portrait by the artist at auction (est £12-18 million/$18.8-28.25 million).

Suprematism, 18th Construction (1915), an extremely rare work by Kazmir Malevich, made £21.4 million ($33.8 million), the second highest price for the artist at auction.

Max Lieberman’s Zwei Reiter am Strand nach links (Two Riders on a Beach), the first work to be sold from Cornelius Gurlitt’s trove of art, sold for £1.87 million ($2.95 million), well over its estimate of £350,000-550,000/$550,000-860,000.

Among other results, the first version of Edouard Manet’s famous Le Bar aux Folies-Bergère (1881) fetched £16.9 million/$26.8 million (est £15-20 million/$15.7-23.5 million). The same work made £4.4 million ($6.28 million) when it last sold at Sotheby’s in London in June 1994.

Sculpture performed well, with seven works bringing £22.1 million ($34.7 million), at the high estimate (£21.6 million/$ 33.92 million). The group was led by Edgar Degas’ Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (1922) – one of only a handful of bronze casts in private hands – which made £15.8 million ($24.9 million), a record for a sculpture by the artist (est £10-15 million/$15.7-23.5 million).

Among other auction records, a work on paper by Lyonel Feininger, Horn Player in The Village, sold for £665,000 ($1.1 million), a work on paper by Henry Moore, Two Women and Child, realised £2.2 million ($3.2 million) and a work by Erika Giovanna Klien, Lokomotive, sold for £545,000 ($860,718).

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