Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern sale last night marked a sluggish start to the summer auction season in London as sixteen of the 51 lots offered failed to find buyers. In percentage terms, 31 percent went unsold by lot and 16 percent by value. The sale totaled £112,101,350 ($165,282,230) – surpassing the low end of the pre-sale estimate of £101 million ($150 million), but far off the £148 million ($220 million) high estimate. The total is the third-highest ever achieved for an Impressionist and Modern evening sale at Sotheby’s in London and stands in stark contrast to the £33.5 million realized in June 2009. In another encouraging sign of a surging market, nineteen lots fetched over a million pounds, and of those, three made over ten million pounds. In all, four artist records were set. The sale was topped by the cover-lot Edouard Manet‘s Self-Portrait with a Palette, which reportedly sold to the New York based dealer Frank Giraud for a record £22,441,250 ($33,087,379). The previous Manet record was set at Christie’s when La Rue Mosnier Aux Drapeaux sold for $26.4 million in 1989. The work, consigned by hedge-fund billionaire Steven A Cohen, had been estimated to fetch between £20 million and £30 million.
A spectacular result was achieved for Andre Derain‘s Arbres a Collioure which sold to a telephone bidder for a record £16.3 million ($24 million). It doubled the previous mark for the artist set at Sotheby’s London in November last year, when Guy Bennet bought Barques au port de Collioure for $14.1 million. The sale also established the highest price ever paid for any Fauve painting.
There was a strong taste for modern, color-charged works throughout the sale. Odalisques Jouant aux Dames by Henri Matisse sold for £11.8 million, within the pre-sale estimate of £10-15 million. A drawing by Matisse, Etude pour un ‘Nu Rose, picked-up a record for the artist in that medium when it sold for £5.9 million. Another top-lot, painted around the same time as Odalisques Jouant aux Dames, was Chaim Soutine’s portrait of an anonymous hotel worker, Le valet de chambre, which for £7.8 million ($11.6) over an estimate of £7-9 million ($10-13 million).
One of the most notable disappointments of the night was the poor response to Kees van Dongen’s L’Amie de Mrs. Edwards. Bidding died at the £1.7 million mark despite the high estimate of £2-3 million. Another painting that failed to sell despite high-hopes was the 1964 Picasso painting Femme au chat assise dans un fauteuil that held a pre-sale estimate of £4-6 million.
The London sales continue tonight at Christie’s with an evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art that could become the most successful sale ever held in London.
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Results List
Rare Edouard Manet self portrait sold for record £22million at Sothebys auction [Telegraph.co.uk]
Cohen’s Manet Finds Lackluster Reception at Auction [NY Times]
Sotheby’s London Ekes Out a Victory With Impressionist Sale [NY Times]
Manet self portrait fetches record £22m at London sale [BBC News]
Record price fails to impress at arts auction [BBC News]
Self-Portrait Stars at Sotheby’s [WSJ]
Cohen’s Manet Sells for Record $33.2 Million in Art-Market Test [Bloomberg]
In a Shaken Impressionist & Modern Market, Sotheby’s London Auction Fails to Stir [ArtInfo]
Manet self-portrait fetches record £22m at Sotheby’s auction [Guardian]