The June sales in London are packed with potentially record-breaking Impressionist and modern works that are expected to fetch a combined total of £300-450 million. If the pre-sale estimates are realized, these the most lucrative series of auctions ever held in London, easily surpassing the £298 million realized in June 2008 before the global economic meltdown during which the June sales achieved just £96 million. Giovanna Bertazzoni, Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern art at Christie’s, London has noted the recent confidence renewed in vendors in light of the the strong results witnessed at auction over the last year, “we are witnessing a great willingness from clients to consign works of art of the highest quality. There is a fierce international demand in the art market, particularly for the rarest and the best, and the market itself is now truly global as illustrated at our auction in New York in May where we saw bidding from Russia, China and the Middle East, as well as from Europe and the Americas.”
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Sotheby’s open the season tomorrow with an Impressionist and modern evening sale featuring a rare set of 51 trophies that are expected to fetch between £101 and £148 million – higher than for any previous Sotheby’s sale in London. The evening’s top lot is Edouard Manet‘s fetching Self-Portrait with a Palette. Described by Charles Moffett, Sotheby’s Executive Vice President, as “one of the very greatest self-portraits in the entire canon of art history,” the painting is expected to fetch between £20 and £30 million. Another highlight is Matisse‘s Odalisques Jouant aux Dames (est. £10-15 million) which makes its first ever appearance at auction – the work comes from a group of 140 works discovered in 1979 in a Parisian bank vault belonging to the deceased art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who played an important role promoting artists including Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse. Another work from Vollard’s long-lost collection to feature in the sale is Andre Derain‘s Fauvist landscape, Arbres a Collioure, which is expected to fetch up to £14 million.
Christie’s, whose $336 million tally at May’s Impressionist and modern evening sale in New York lambasted the $196 million achieved by rivals Sotheby’s, have snagged 63 trophy works for its evening sale on June 23 that are expected to fetch a combined total of £160 to £230 million – making it the most valuable art auction in history.
The cover lot is Picasso’s portrait of his friend Angel Fernandez de Soto, which is estimated at £30-40 million. Painted in 1903 during the artist’s famous Blue Period, Portrait d’Angel Fernandez de Soto was described by Christie’s earlier this year as “one of the most important works of art to be offered at auction in decades.” The work was bought by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber in 1995 for £18 million, and is now being sold by his charitable foundation.
Another painting generating excitement is Claude Monet‘s water lily painting, Nymphéas, which is also expected to fetch between £30 and £40 million. Nymphéas was included in the artist’s historic exhibition of his water lily series in Paris in 1909 and remained in the ownership of the Durand-Ruel art dealing family for a number years before selling to a lone-bidder for £13.6m 10 years ago at Christie’s in New York.
Two other pictures that are expected to perform well are Gustav Klimt‘s Frauenbildnis (Portrait of Ria Munk III), one of the artist’s sought-after female portraits which is estimated at £14m to £18m, and Van Gogh‘s Parc de l’hopital Saint-Paul which was painted during the artist’s voluntary confinement at Saint-Paul the year before he killed himself.
Christie’s Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale E-Catalogue
Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale E-Catalogue
Will this be Britain’s most lucrative ever week of sales? [Telegraph.co.uk]
Star Lots From Monet to Manet [WSJ]
The most valuable art auction in history [The Independent]
Art shrugs off financial crisis as buyers prepare for richest sales yet [Times Online]
Rival auction houses aim for new heights in London [Reuters]
Business diary: Giovanna Bertazzoni [Financial Times]
Ambroise Vollard: the original Charles Saatchi [Telegraph.co.uk]