A reclining nude by Amedeo Modigliani painted in 1917 fetched a record price of $26,8million at Christie's in New York on November 4th 2003.
Such price enabled a sigh of relief from the auctioneers and underlined a better atmosphere on the art market though still affected by the world economic crisis. In fact, Christie's only offered 44 lots for sale and sold 81% of these.
However, only major works sell well at the moment and such a fact was confirmed with a bid of $ 22,4 million for a 100 x 80 cm painting painted by Fernand Léger in 1914 and titled “Woman in red and green”, another record price for the artist.
A recently rediscovered painting by Gustave Caillebotte titled “Chemin montant” (Uphill road” sold for $ 6,7 million. A watercolour by Vincent Van Gogh titled “The Langlois Bridge in Arles” went for $ 8,2 million while an oil painting by the same artist executed in 1888 and titled “ Almond tree branch” fetched $ 4,3 million.
An oil painting by Caillebotte titled “Sailing boats on the River Seine, Argenteuil” (75 x 43,2 cm) fetched $ 1,4 million and a painting by Sisley titled “Morning by the forest in June” (60 x 73 cm) went for $ 1,6 million.
A monumental “Three-Piece Reclining Figure: Draped” bronze 1975 sculpture by Henry Moore sold for a record price of $ 6,16 million while a 270 centimetre high woman standing went for $ 9,6 million despite heavy restorations.
On November 5th, Sotheby's sold for $ 1,12 million a Camille Pissaro painting titled “In the fields, Pontoise”, a work that fetched $ 363,000 in 1987. A painting by Oscar Kokoschka titled “London, Richmond Terrace” went for $ 960,000, $ 40,000 less than the price it fetched in 1991.
A painting titled “Landhaus am Attersee” executed by Gustav Klimt in 1914 and stolen by the Nazis during World World Two rose to$29,1millionagainst a high estimate de $ 25 million. This work was recently given back to the heirs of the collector who had been the victim of such theft.
A still life of apples and pears by Cézanne sold for $ 3,5 million in 1993 by Sotheby's fetched $ 8,7 million this time. A reclining nude painted on paper by Pïcasso went for $ 9,7 million. A watercolour by Van Gogh titled “Harvest in Provence” reached $ 10,7 million, well under the $ 14,6 million price it fetched in London in 1997.