London Auction House Round-Up

February 4th, 2008

Alexej von Jawlensky “Schokko (Schokko With Wide-Brimmed hat)” via Sotheby’s

Christie’s International and Sotheby’s will auction a record breaking approximately $847 million of Impressionist and Modern Art this month in London. Expectations for the sales remain high despite the economic turmoil in many sectors, including the subprime loan crisis and the all time low for stocks in London last month. This optimism stems from the fact that many experts and collectors believe art will remain a stable investment in times of financial upheaval. “People who are buying art at the top level are not affected by subprime losses,” says Howard Rachofsky, a Dallas-based contemporary art collector to Bloomberg News. He continued by noting that, “U.S. interest rates coming down now represent a tremendous opportunity for collectors.” This optimism is echoed by both Oliver Camu Director of Christie’s and Simon Shawn Director of Sotheby’s. In hopes that the art bubble will not burst, Christie’s and Sotheby’s will offer seminal works by Egon Schiele, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Paul Cezanne, among others.

The Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale begins tonight, February 4th and 5th in London, followed by the Post War and Contemporary Sale on February 6th. The Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale is on February 6th and 7th and
the Contemporary Sale has been moved to later in February.

Francis Bacon “Triptych 1974-1977″ via Christie’s

Wassily Kandinsky, “Herbstlandschaft mit Baum” via Christie’s

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale is estimated to take in up to $178 million. Highlights include several Egon Schiele paintings of nudes and “Mutter und Kind,” a work said to be inspired by his mentor Gustav Klimt. Additionally, eight Picasso paintings will go under the hammer. As for the Contemporary sale, the highest price for a work at an European auction could be brought in by Francis Bacon’s “Triptych 1974-1977,” estimated at $50 million. There will also be a sale of many important Surrealist works.

Paul Cezanne “Poires et couteau” via Sotheby’s

Pablo Picasso “Tete de femme” via Sotheby’s

On Tuesday, Sotheby’s will offer Cezanne’s “Poires et couteau” at $4 to $6 million dollars, and “Grazing Horses III”, a German Expressionist work by Franz Marc estimated at $12 to $16 million. Fauvist painter Alexej von Jawlensky’s oil painting, “Schokko (Schokko With Wide-Brimmed hat)” is expected to be the most expensive work offered at the sale with an estimated price of $13 million to $17 million. An informative preview video is available on Sothebys.com, featuring Helena Newman, Vice Chairman, Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide and Alexander Platon, Director, Impressionist & Modern Art.

London Tests Art Market With Record $847 Million February Sales [Bloomberg]
Bacon heads £530m menu of forthcoming art [Telegraph]
London’s Blockbuster week of auctions set to defy financial gloom [Yahoo News]
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale [Christie’s]
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale [Sotheby’s]