AO Auction Preview – London: Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, June 23rd-24th, 2015

June 22nd, 2015

Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism, 18th Construction (1915), via Sotheby's
Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism, 18th Construction (1915), via Sotheby’s

Following the big ticket sales in Art Basel this past week, the art market’s focus will shift to London this week, where a pair of major Impressionist and Modern Evening sales will launch the last two weeks of market activity before the summer months and their lull of activity.  Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s will face off again following last month’s monumental sales results in New York, with a number of extremely impressive works offered, often with equally impressive price tags.

Edouard Manet, Le Bar aux Folies Bergère (1881), via Sotheby's
Edouard Manet, Le Bar aux Folies Bergère (1881), via Sotheby’s

The sales begin on Tuesday, June 23th at Christie’s King Street location, where a 52-lot sale is offering a strong, although somewhat subdued series of works, estimated at a £60,400,000 –      £87,850,000 total.  While prices are high for the top lots, including a Claude Monet cover lot (Iris Mauves) estimated at £6,000,000 – £9,000,000, initial estimates are somewhat conservative.  A Pablo Picasso follows close behind, priced at a high of £6,500,000, while a pale, fluid Edgar Degas is also an early highlight at £2,500,000 – £3,500,000.  Also of note is a Joan Miró from 1952, which is estimated at £4,500,000.

Wassily Kandinsky’s Studie zu Improvisation 3,1909 Highlight at Christie's Sale
Wassily Kandinsky’, Studie zu Improvisation 3 (1909) via Christie’s

Marc Chagall, Bouquet près de la Fenêtre (1959-60), via Christie's Auction House
Marc Chagall, Bouquet près de la Fenêtre (1959-60), via Christie’s

Sotheby’s, on the other hand, seems intent on coming out swinging, and is already boasting that its sale on Wednesday will break the record for the most expensive London sale in history.  The 51 lot sale is already trumpeting an estimate of £203 million that will fall, pushing the sale into new territory for the British Capital.  This estimate is led by Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematism, 18th Construction, a bold, colorful painting by the Russian master that is expected to top £30 million.  With market interest as strong as it currently is, the final price could very well top the artist’s already impressive $60 million auction record.  Also of note is a darkly rendered Manet, priced at £15,000,000 — £20,000,000, as well as Edgar Degas’s iconic Petite Danseuse, a work that is claiming impressive news for its anticipated £15 million-plus sales estimate.

Kees van Dongen, Anita en almée (1908), via Christie's Auction House
Kees van Dongen, Anita en almée (1908), via Christie’s

Pablo Picasso, Tête (1969), via Christie's Auction House
Pablo Picasso, Tête (1969), via Christie’s

With strong works in tow, Sotheby’s seems poised to make up ground following Christie’s massive sales results in New York this past May.  The sales will kick off Tuesday evening, with Art Observed covering the auctions on our Twitter and Instagram.

Pablo Picasso, Deux Personnages (La Lecture)(1934), via Sotheby's
Pablo Picasso, Deux Personnages (La Lecture) (1934), via Sotheby’s

Paul Gauguin, Nature Morte aux Mangos (1891-96), via Sotheby's
Paul Gauguin, Nature Morte aux Mangos (1891-96), via Sotheby’s

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Auction Page]
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Auction Page]
Sotheby’s art sale set to break London record [Telegraph]
Modern masters go on display in £352m sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s [Evening Standard]
Klimt’s ‘Portrait of Gertrud Loew’ to Be Auctioned [NYT]