Sotheby’s Sets New Record For Highest Total At A London Auction

Sotheby’s Auctioneers has set a new record for the highest total for a London auction. Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Co-Head, Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide, said: “Building on the momentum of Sotheby’s record Impressionist & Modern art sales last year, we’re delighted to launch the first sale season of 2015 with a new high for art auctions in London – the highest sale total ever achieved in any category. Broadening the international reach, we saw an all-time high of 35 countries participating in this field, and collectors from Asia and Russia asserting themselves as a continued force in the market. Undoubtedly it was a great night for Monet, yet we also saw significant depth of bidding right across the sale. The success of tonight’s auction reflects the outstanding quality of the exceptionally rare, museum-quality works offered.”
The grand total for tonight’s Evening Sales of Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art marks the highest total for any auction ever held in London, in any category: £186.44m / $280.18m / €242m. with85.33% Sold by Lot. There were participants from 35 countries across 6 continents: the most ever seen in this category at Sotheby’s London. Overall pre-Sale estimate: £139.21-196.15m. 5 auction records were set tonight*, led by Étude pour une baignade, Asnières that brought a new auction record for a work on paper by Seurat when it sold for £7.77m / $11.67m / €10.3m (est. 5-7m) The drawing relates to one of Seurat’s greatest paintings, Une baignade, Asnières from 1883-1884, which hangs in the National Gallery, London. Works on paper performed exceptionally well throughout the night, with ten pieces together bringing £22.11 million – well above their £14.6 million high estimate
The sales were led by a stunning offering of five works by Claude Monet all of which sold, together totaling £55.74m / $83.76m / €73.92m (overall est. £42.7-60.8m) Le Grand Canal from Monet’s celebrated Venice series of 1908 led the auctions, achieving £23.67m / $35.57m / €31.39m (est. £20-30m) From the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and on offer for the first time at auction, Les Peupliers à Giverny fetched £10.79m / $16.21m / €14.31m  (est. £9-12m) Matisse’s exquisite portrait Odalisque au fauteuil noir sold for £15.83m / $23.79m/ €20.99m surpassing its high estimate of £12m
The work depicts Princess Nézy-Hamidé Chawkat, the great granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey. Toulouse-Lautrec’s Au Lit: Le Baiser from 1892 brought £10.79m / $16.21m / €14.31m (est. £9-12m) – the second-highest price for the artist at auction. The work had never been offered at auction before, and had not been exhibited publicly for more than four decades. Top-tier pieces by Toulouse-Lautrec are exceptionally rare on the market – only three works by the artist have ever appeared at auction estimated at this level

Photo: Courtesy Sothebys all rights reserved

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