AO Auction Results – London: Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s, Tuesday June 19, 2012

June 20th, 2012

Marc Chagall, Noce et Musique (1939) which sold for £2.5 million

Last night at Sotheby’s marked the opening night of three straight weeks of art auctions in London. The evening achieved a few exceptional and even record breaking sales, yet it did not compare with the astonishing May auctions held previously this year in New York. Out of the 48 lots offered only 33 of them sold – a sell through rate of 69%. Still, Sotheby’s total sales for the night reached £75 million – above their low estimate of £73 million.

Joan MiroPeinture (Etoilé Bleue) (1927) which sold for £23,561,250

The star of the evening was Joan Miro’s Peinture (Etoilé Bleue) which sold for £23,561,250 – well above the high estimate of £20 million. Despite the fact it entered the sale with a third party guarantee, it broke the artist’s former record at auction while being the top selling lot of the evening. In a press release, Helena Newman, Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Department, is quoted Miró not only shattered the previous record for the artist (set only four months ago at £16.8 million), but also made more than three times the price it achieved five years ago.”

Pablo Picasso, Homme Assise (1972) which sold for £6.2 million

Pierre Bonnard, Nu Debout (1931) which sold for £4.5 million

Kees Van Dongen, Lailla (1908) which sold for £3.6 million

The second highest grosssing artwork was Picasso’s Homme Assise – selling for £6.2 million, the low end of its £6 – 9 million estimate. The third most expensive work  belonged to Pierre Bonnard’s Nu Debout, only slightly surpassing it’s low estimate and selling for £4.5 million. It was expected to boost between £4.5 -5.5 million. Following this precedent, the fifth highest price tag was for Kees Van Dongen’s Lailla. This eery nude sold for £3.6 million – just above it’s low estimate of £3.5 million.

Henry Moore, Mother and Child With Apple (1956) which sold for £3.7 million

Wassily KandinskyStudy for Green Border (1919) which sold for £1.3 million

A few pieces had unexpectedly high sales. Henry Moore’s Mother and Child with Apple sold for £3.7 million, above the high estimate £2.8 million. Additionally, Marc Chagall’s Noce et Musique boosted £2.5 – close to double it’s anticipated high of £1.5 million. Also, the set of Wassily Kandinsky water colors auctioned last night were led by Study for Green Border, which sold for £1.3 million, well over the expected £750,000 – 900,000. According to Sotheby’s, 33% of the artworks auctioned obtained prices above high estimate.

Despite the achievement of the Miro and the lots that surpassed their expectations, many works went unsold – 15 to be exact, and the stalled tone was noticeable in the room at times during the auction.  However, this sale still brought the combined total for Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sales worldwide this year to £435m, which reflects a 12.4 % increase on the same period last year.

– A. Roemer

Related Links:

Sotheby’s sale sets Miro record, others disappoint [Reuters]
Picasso, Miro Start $500 Million Test of Auction Market [Bloomberg]
Sotheby’s London Evening IM= £74.9 m [Art Market Monitor]
Miró Saves the Day for Sotheby’s [NY Times]
Miro record smashed at London auction [France 24]
Joan Miró’s masterpiece sells for $36.9m [Art Daily]
Joan Miro sets record [The Economic Times]