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KANDINSKY'S RECORD PRICE BROKEN TWICE
22 June 2017
Category : MARKET

Wassily Kandinsky's auction record was broken twice within minutes during Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern art sale held in London on June 21,2017 when his 1909 landscape with a green house sold for 21 million GBP followed by his  1913 canvas titled “Bild mit Weissen Linien" (Painting With White Lines)”, which fetched 33 million pounds (including fees)

The auction totaled 149 million GBP, compared with  103.3 million a year ago. Joan Miro's “Femme et Oiseaux” sold for a record price of 24.6 million GBP while Alberto Giacometti's elongated sculpture of a female nude titled "Grande Figure", a unique cast from 1948 reputedly sold by the billionaire Leon Black  went for the equivalent of $22.6 million.

While the total represented a 45 percent increase on last year, bidding was rarely intense and few lots sold above estimate. Still, small works on paper by Ed Rusha, whose "Blue Scream" (1964 sold for 1.6 million, and Mark Grotjahn  attracted the attention of bidders  as did an Old Master flower painting by Ambrosius Bosschaert, bought by an Asian collector within estimate for £3 million while approximately 66 percent of the sale's low estimate was guaranteed with irrevocable bids, notably Joan Miro'sFemme et Oiseau, a magnificent 1940 work on paper from his rare “Constellation” series which went beyond the artist's previous auction record of  23.6 million GBP, set in 2012 for his 1927 oil painting, Peinture (Etoile Bleue).

There was however no guarantee needed for Kandinsky's Fauvist period landscape painting of the bucolic German town of Murnau, which came from the Werner and Gabrielle Merzbacher Collection in Switzerland.Just six lots later, a rare testimony from Kandinsky's move into abstraction in 1913, Painting with White Lines, jumped to a new record after being guaranteed for 27 million GBP. This picture had remained in Russia all its life until 1974, when it was acquired from the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow by Cologne collector William Hack, whose descendants were selling it. Kandinsky's previous auction record was $23.3 million, set at Christie's New York last year for a large 1935 painting titled Rigide et Courbe which went slightly beyond his Fugue(1914),a rather better work from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, sold in 1990 at Sotheby's for 21 million USD, a price now equivalent to 39 million USD with inflation over 27 years taken into account.

The other notable record price of the evening was for Théo van Rysselberghe's luminous pointillist painting, Sailboats on the Escault (1892), which had been bought in 2002 for a record $2.6 million. Guaranteed this time, it sold within estimate for £8.5 million.

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