Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale Totals $415,852,500

Another successful Christies Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale has topped expectations with record prices for Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) and Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935).

Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) Suprematist Composition 1916 an oil on canvas has achieved a record price for the artist selling for $85,812,500 £63,423,873. It sold previously for $60m when in 2008. It carried an estimate in the region of $70m this time and realised $85.8m with fees. It sold, to dealer Brett Gorvy, of Lévy Gorvy, bidding on behalf of a client.

Constantin Brancusi, La muse endormie, patinated bronze with gold leaf, Circa 1909-1910. $71,000,000 £52,475,979 Christie’s previous record for the artist was in 2017 with Price Realized: $ 57,367,500.

Constantin Brancusi, La muse endormie
Constantin Brancusi, La muse endormie

Elizabeth Taylor’s, Vue de l‟asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy, 1889, by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) a luminous painting which was included in several of the most important early exhibitions of the artist‟s work has been flipped for a final price of $39.7m. The picture had last sold for less than half that—$16m—in 2012.

Christie’s 20th Century  season got off to a strong start on 15 May, as the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale  in New York achieved $415,852,500/ £307,355,876. The sale, which was 99 per cent sold by value and 89 per cent sold by lot, attracted registered bidders from 35 countries across five continents. Overall, 35 per cent of all lots sold above their high estimate; four lots sold for over $20 million.
Leading the sale was Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition,which achieved $85,812,500/ £63,423,873, a world record for the artist. Painted in 1916, it is considered one of the finest and most complex of the artist’s early geometric canvases, epitomising his vision of the world as he believed it would be experienced in a state of higher-dimensional, or ‘supreme’, consciousness.

The extraordinarily rare piece came to Christie’s from The Collection of Elizabeth Stafford, who, with her husband Frederick, acquired the work directly from Brancusi during a visit to his studio in 1955. The work remained in the couple’s collection, and this was the first time it has been offered for auction.

Malevich and Brancusi were just two of the heralded names in a star-studded evening. Also headlining the auction was Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 masterwork, Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy, which sold for $39,687,500 / £29,332,964. For decades a centrepiece of Elizabeth Taylor’s collection, this late work from the artist’s time at the asylum of Saint Paul de Mausole is the only one not painted from within the confines of the private hospital.

 Elizabeth Taylor's, Vue de l‟asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy, 1889, by Vincent Van Gogh

Elizabeth Taylor’s, Vue de l‟asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy, 1889, by Vincent Van Gogh

Further standouts included an exceptional group of works offered from the Collection of Joan and Preston Robert Tisch, two of New York’s most prominent civic leaders. As passionate about the arts as they were about philanthropy, the Tisches contributed leadership and financial support to institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home of the Tisch Galleries, and the Museum of Modern Art.

A highlight of this collection, Joan Miró’s Femme entendant de la musique, painted just three days after Victory in Europe Day, on 11 May 1945, sold for $21,687,500/ £16,029,194. Others included Alberto Giacometti’s La Clarière, cast between 1950 and 1952, which sold for $15,781,250 / £11,663,895, and Fernand Léger’s Les trois femmes au bouquet  (1922), a stellar example of the artist’s turn to neoclassicism, which achieved $12,968,750 / £9,585,181. The running total for the collection stands at $83,122,500, well over its low estimate of $55.2 million for the evening, with additional works to be offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day and Works on Paper sales and in the Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions.

In addition to Femme entendant de la musique, three Miró sculptureswent under the hammer. The sale also featured a total of four sculptures and paintings by Alberto Giacometti, and a remarkably deep offering of Picasso paintings.

Strong prices were also seen for works offered from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Coles. Claude Monet’s Le Pommier  achieved $7,062,500/ £5,219,882 well over its high estimate of $2,500,000, while Edouard Manet’s L’Italienne  sold for $11,000,000 / £8,130,081. Overall, the collection realised $37,862,500, against a low estimate of $23.7 million.

Says Adrien Meyer, Co-Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s, ‘The strong results realised this evening, with outstanding participation both in the room and on the phones, reaffirmed that the market is present and more international than ever, especially when the works on offer are of such exceptional quality and provenance.’

Christie’s 20th Century  sales continue on 16 May with the Impressionist and Modern Art Works on Paper   sale and the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale.


Update Christie’s Contemporary

Christie’s had a successful, evening sale of postwar and contemporary art finishing up a busy two weeks of auctions in New York.

The sale realised $397 million in total, falling short of last spring’s evening contemporary sale of $448 million. Auction records were set for artists, Joan Mitchell  Morris Louis, Richard Diebenkorn  and Nicolas de Staël. The highest price achieved for the evening was Francis Bacon‘s Study for Portrait (1977), depicting former lover George Dyer.


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