AO Auction Results: Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London Held on Tuesday June 23rd Falls Short of Low Estimate

June 24th, 2009

Claude Monet - Au Parc Monceau
Claude Monet’s ‘Au Parc Monceau’ sold for £6.3 million, well above its high estimate of £4.5 million, via Christie’s

Yesterday’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale at Christie’s in London realized £37.2 million, falling shy of estimates of £37.8-51.7 million, including buyer’s premium. 30 of the 44 lots offered sold, with a rate of 68% sold by lot and 84% by value. The highlight of the sale was Monet’s ‘Au Parc Monceau,’ which sold for £6.3 million, far above its high estimate of £4.5 million. Joan Miró’s ‘Peinture (Femme se poudrant)’ also attracted spirited bidding, selling for just under £4 million, against estimates of £2.2-2.8 million. The star lot, a Picasso Musketeer painting, ‘Man with sword,’ sold for £5.8 million, in the lower end of estimates of £5-7 million. Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale takes places tonight in London.

Christie’s Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale Results [Christie’s]
Only a Few Hills in the Valley of Christie’s Season-Opening Art Auction [NY Times]
£1.5m Pissarro painting looted by Nazis withdrawn from auction [Telegraph]
Christie’s London sale falls short of low estimate [Reuters]
Buyers Focus on Works Worth the Fight [NY Times]
Monet, Picasso Fetch $20 Million; Auction Shrinks 74% [Bloomberg]
Christie’s Auction of Impressionist and Modern Art in London Realises $60.4 Million [Artdaily]
Christie’s misfires on £37m Impressionist and Modern art sale [Wealth Bulletin]
Christie’s Kicks Off London Season With Modest Imp/Mod Sale [Artinfo]
Family wrangle halts sale of £1.5m Pissarro stolen by the Gestapo [TimesUK]
Family Dispute Halts Sale of Pissarro Stolen by Nazis [Artinfo]

Pablo Picasso - Homme a l'epee
Pablo Picasso’s ‘Homme à l’épée’ sold for £5.8 million, falling within estimates of £5-7 million, via Christie’s

While a number of lots achieved prices above their estimates, particularly those considered high quality. Many of the pieces that failed to sell were works considered to be sub-par examples of artists like Picasso or Alexej von Jawlensky.  But rarer works, like Paul Klee’s ‘Einblick in eine Stadt’ often sold above high estimates.  With the market still adjusting, auction houses are having a hard time finding sellers willing to part with quality works of art. Pricing remains an issue, too. Works within the £300,000-600,000 range sold poorly, with 7 out of 21 lots failing to sell.

Paul Klee - Einblick in eine Stadt
Paul Klee’s ‘Einblick in eine Stadt’ sold for £385,250, above its high estimate, via Christie’s

A Pissarro painting, ‘Le Quais Malaquais et l’Institut,’ that had been put up for auction following a lengthy Nazi restitution case was withdrawn at the last minute due to a dispute over proceeds between descendants of the original owner.

Joan Miro - Peinture (Femme se poudrant)
Joan Miró’s ‘Peinture (Femme se poudrant)’ sold for just under £4 million, besting estimates of £2.2-2.8 million, via Christie’s

Camille Pissarro - Le Quai Malaquais et l'Institut
Camille Pissarro’s ‘Le Quais Malaquais et l’Institut’ was withdrawn from bidding due to family infighting, via Christie’s

Franz Marc - Springende Pferde
Franz Marc’s ‘Springende Pferde’ sold for £3.7 million, within estimates of £3-4 million, via Christie’s