New York – AO Auction Preview: Impressionist and Modern Evening Sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, November 7th & 8th, 2012

November 7th, 2012

 Pablo Picasso, Femme à la Fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) courtesy Sotheby's
Pablo Picasso, Femme à la Fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) courtesy Sotheby’s

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern sale will commence this evening; due to the destruction from the hurricane, Sotheby’s rescheduled its Impressionist sale from November 5th to tomorrow, Thursday the 8th. Airport closures and power outages worried many that the international collecting crowd would not be able to attend. In a season that boasts over a possible billion dollars in revenue and a possible record breaking year at auction, postponement was inevitable.

Both houses are flush with important and iconic works by a plethora of leading artists such as Picasso, Monet, Kandinsky, Miro, Brancusi and Cézanne.

Wassily Kandinsky Studie für Improvisation 8 courtesy Christie's
Wassily Kandinsky, Studie für Improvisation 8 courtesy Christie’s

The Christie’s auction will feature the most important work by Kandinsky to appear at auction in recent decades. A work from 1909, Studie fur Improvisation 8, comes from the collection of the Volkart Foundation, which has owned it for 60 years; it is estimated at a world record of $20-30 million.

Pablo Picasso Plant de Tomate courtesy Sotheby's

Pablo Picasso, Plant de Tomate courtesy Sotheby’s

Without question, Picasso is dominating the fall sales. His somber and graphic painting, Nature Morte Aux Tulipes, is expected to achieve the highest price – a staggering estimate of $35 – 50 million. Additionally, six of the top ten lots at Sotheby’s are works by Picasso – all replete with multi-million dollar estimates. Similar to Nature Morte Aux Tulipes is yet another depiction Picasso’s infamous lover Marié – Thérésé, titled Femme á la Fenetre. With a vibrant palette, the paintingis estimated to sell for $15 – 20 million – the second highest amount for a Picasso this season. Following suit at Sotheby’s are Picasso’s Plante De Tomate at $10 – 15 million, Femme á la Robe Verte at $6 – 8 million, Le Viol at $4 – 6 million, and Femme Assise (Dora Maar) which is priced at $4 – 6 million. Le Viol is a particularly excellent example of Picasso’s prowess as a draftsman – a small ink and pen drawing on paper that is at once violent and beautiful – reminiscent of his infamous Guernica.

Picasso Nature Morte Aux Tulipes courtesy Sotheby's
Pablo Picasso, Nature Morte Aux Tulipes courtesy Sotheby’s

At Christie’s, Picasso is among two of the top ten lots – with one sculpture and one painting. The bronze cast and stylistically truncated depiction of a rooster, aptly titled Coq, is expected to make between $10 – 15 million. Whereas his depiction of his other infamous muse, Dora Maar, in the painting Bust de Femme, is hoped to achieve $8 – 12 million.

Joan Miro Peinture Femme Journal Chien
Joan Miro, Peinture (Femme, Journal, Chien) courtesy Christie’s. Estimate $12 – 18,000,000.

Claude Monet, Nymphéas courtesy Christie's
Claude Monet, Nymphéas courtesy Christie’s

The other star of this auction series is Impressionist painter Claude Monet. At Christie’s, a painting from his notorious water lilies  series, Nymphéas, is being auctioned to raise money for the not-for-profit Hackley School in New York. It possesses the second highest estimate of the Impressionist and Modern Art Sales at $30 – 50 million. At Sotheby’s his pastel pastoral, Champ De Blé, is priced at $5 – 7 million. Additionally, there is a more expressive painting titled Iris, which is stylistically characteristic of his late works, which expected to earn $4 – 6 million.

Constantin Brancusi Une Muse courtesy Christies
Constantin Brancusi, Une Muse courtesy Christie’s. Estimate $10 – 15,000,000.

-A. Roemer

Related Links:
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale [Sotheby’s]
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale [Christie’s]
BBC News: [“New York art auction houses set for billion dollar sale“]
WSJ: [“Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ to star at NYC auction“]
Forbes: [“During The Big Art Auctions This Fall, Take A Second Look At The Results“]
Reuters: [“New York Auctions Feature Trophy Works By Top Artists“]
New York Times: [“This Little Rothko Went To The Market”]