AO Auction Results: Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London Wednesday, June 24, 2009 – Small Sale Brings Solid Results

June 25th, 2009

Pablo Picasso’s ‘Homme à l’épée’ sold for £7 million, falling squarely within estimates of £6-8 million, via Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale last night in London yielded fairly strong results, due mainly to a slimmed down offering of high quality works. The 27 lot sale realized £33.5 million, towards the higher end of estimates of  £26.8-37.3 million, with only 4 lots going unsold and a sold-by-lot rate of 85.2% and a sold-by-value rate of 90.8%. Despite trouble finding sellers, choosing lots carefully paid off for Sotheby’s with spirited bidding throughout the auction. The sale’s big star, Picasso’s ‘Homme à l’épée,’ sold for £7 million against estimates of £6-8 million. Another late Picasso painting, ‘Nu debout,’ was the second-highest lot, selling for £4.3 million, above estimates of £3-4 million.

Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale Results [Sotheby's]
Sotheby’s Lean Strategy Pays Off [NY Times]
Sotheby’s London auction hits target at $55 million [Reuters]
Picasso’s $11.5 Million Musketeer Tops Sale as Bargains Hunted [Bloomberg]
Homme a l’epee Sells for 7 Million and Leads Sotheby’s Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art [Artdaily]
Lot by Lot: Sotheby’s I/M London Evening Sale [Art Market Monitor]
Picasso Musketeer Tops Sale by Sotheby’s [NY Times]
En Garde! Sotheby’s Sells Picasso Musketeeer Painting for $11.5 Million [WallStreetJournal]
Picasso musketeers duel at London auction houses [The Art Newspaper]
Sotheby’s Imp/Mod Sale Small but Solid [Artinfo]
Summing Up Sotheby’s I/M Evening Sale in London [Art Market Monitor]
Homme a l’epee Leads Sotheby’s Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art [Auction Publicity]

AO coverage of Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on Tuesday

Claud Monet’s ‘Route de Giverny en hiver’ sold for £3.8 million, near its £4 million high estimate, via Artdaily

Three sculptures by Alberto Giacometti fared well, realizing £7.4 million in total. The highest selling piece, ‘Diego (Tête au col roulé),’ went for £2.7, far above estimates of £1-1.5 million. Another sculptural work also did well, Barbara Hepworth’s ‘Three Standing Forms’ sold for £780,450, against estimates of £700,000-£1 million. A classic Monet painting, ‘Route de Giverny en hiver’ sold for £3.8 million, in the higher range of estimates of £3-4 million. Joan Miró’s painting, ‘Personnages devant l’oiseau-fusée qui s’enfuit’ sold for £959,650, well above estimates of £400,000-600,000. A painting by René Magritte, ‘La Lumière des Coïncidences,’ sold for £646,050, more than double its high estimate of £300,000.

Overall, Sotheby’s sale was considered a success, given the faltering art market and last May’s weak Impressionist and Modern auction. Buyers appear to be more confident, and Sotheby’s also said that they marked down estimates by about 25%. Still, the sale total is down 68% from last June’s figure of £102.2 million.