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ALMOST 400 MILLION USD FOR CHRISTIE'S SALE OF IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN ART
14 May 2019
Category : MARKET

Christie's evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art held on May 13 in New York fetched $399 million—hitting the high pre-sale estimate and far surpassing the low estimate of $287.5 million. Of the 63 lots offered, 54, or 86 percent, were sold while new auction records were set for works by Balthus and Pierre Bonnard.

The collection of the late publishing magnate S.I. Newhouse totaled  $100.1 million—more than a fourth of the sale total with third-party guarantees for three lots, including a still life by Paul Cézanne, « Bouilloire et fruits » (1888-1890) sold for $ 59.3 million with premium against an estimate of 40 million and a Van Gogh landscape, « Arbres dans le jardin de l'Asile » painted in St Rémy in 1889 which fetched 40 million with premium against an estimate of 25 million.

The Cézanne had been stolen in 1978 from collector Michael Bakwin in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Recovered in 1999, S.I. Newhouse bought it that year for $29.5 million at Sotheby's London.

Estimated between $30 million and 40 million, a rare limestone Modigliani sculpture, Tête (circa 1911–12), sold for $34.3 million with premium while the artist's portrait of Lunia Czechowska (à la robe noire) (1919) sold for 25.2 million with premium, well over its estimated of 12 to 18 million.

A new auction record was set for Balthus's work when his painting, Thérèse sur une banquette (1939) sold for $19 million, compared with expectations of $12 million to $18 million. The price was more than double the previous record for a work by the artist, set at Christie's New York in November 2015 for « Lady Abdy » (1935) sold for 9.9 million at that time.

Another auction record was recorded for Pierre Bonnard's La Terrasse or Une terrasse à Grasse(1912), which rose to 19.6 million with premium against a high estimate of 8 million, well above the previous record for a work by Bonnard of $11.6 million, set at Christie's London in February 2011.

Estimated between 20 and 30 million Picasso's portrait La Lettre (La Résponse) (1923) from the collection of Princess "Titi" von Furstenberg sold for $25.2 million price including premium while a Mark Rothko painting from the same collection went for $5.4 million against a high estimate of $3 million.

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