£92.5m for Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s London Auction
International collectors eagerly acquired works of 19th and 20th century masters such as Renoir, Degas, Picasso, Chagall, Magritte and many others at Christie’s Auction on 20th June 2012.
The value of artworks in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale was pre-estimated between £86,525,000 and £126,740,000. Although the sale realised £92,583,550, selling 80% by lot and 84% by value, selling agents and vendors should be satisfied. Among 71 lots, bidders acquired 27 works for over £1million each and set price records for works of Giorgio Morandi and Kurt Schwitters.
The auction started with a surprising piece of information, probably disappointing many. The celebrated Baigneuse (1888), a sensual, luminous nude by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which was advertised as a flagship of the sale and estimated for £12million to £18million, was sold privately prior to the auction.
Therefore, Egdar Degas became the brightest star of the bidding. Fourteen of his small, bronze sculptures, including an étude for the famous Fourteen Years Old Dancer (transacted for £2,841,250) had a wide appeal among auctioneers and were sold mostly above the estimations.
But it was Femme Assise (1949) by Pablo Picasso, which sold for £8,553,250, who was the most expensive piece acquired that evening. The painting, offered for sale form a private Californian collection, is capturing the artist’s partner Francoise Gilot pregnant with their daughter Paloma and is an excellent example of Picasso’s exploration of principles of life and provide and insight into his private life.
Equally sensational was the bidding of Les Jours Gigantesques (1928), referred to as one of the most notable, influential and distressing images in René Magritte’s entire oeuvre, which was estimated for £800,000-£1.5million and was sold £7,209,250. It was painted in 1928, at the central point of the painter’s participation in the Paris Surrealist collective and offered in market for the first time in 60 years.
The history has shown that there is no bad investment in art, as even the most astonishing values are hugely upraised.