As the weather grows increasingly chilly, the art world turns its blue-chip market attention towards New York City once again, where a final series of major Impressionist/Modern and Post-War/Contemporary Evening Sales will open at the major auction houses, once again offering a test of the market’s current strength. With a last flourish on a year that has packed ample surprises into its market proceedings, this final sale will feature a series of landmark works, chief among them the offering of an extremely rare Leonardo Da Vinci canvas, a work that has already created a storm of chatter among art world insiders.
Spanning almost a full week in the city, the five auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips offer one of the last opportunities for collectors to get their hands on marquee works before the art world decamps to Miami Beach for the last sales blowout of the year. Mixing together deep, historically resonant works with pieces from the last century of artistic production, the week should offer a vast perspective on the highest levels of the market.
The sales begin on November 13th at Christie’s, where the auction house kicks off its Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale. The 68-lot sale is an ambitious affair, carrying a range of impressive works that should no doubt start the week off with a strong indication of buyer interest. The evening will be lead by Contraste de formes, a flourish of color by Fernand Léger that may well top an estimate of $25 million, while a strong van Gogh, Laboureur dans un champ may also look to break that price point. The sale also boasts a Pablo Picasso painting at the top end of the auction, which is boasting an estimated price of $20-$30 million.
The following evening, Sotheby’s will launch its own iteration of the Impressionist and Modern Sale, presenting a 66 lot offering that will also look to capture a series of strong results for an auction house that has labored to please shareholders in recent months. A pair of Claude Monet works, as well as a Picasso composition will top the sale, all anticipated to sell for between $18 million and $25 million, making for an impressive centerpiece for the sale. Other highlights come from a subtle Rene Magritte work, swelling with subdued light and energy, and carrying a price of $12 million to $18 million.
The sales turn towards the contemporary on November 15th, when Christie’s launches what could arguably be the landmark auction of the year, let alone the coming week. Pairing together two major works of art with a distinctly tongue-in-cheek approach, the sale is led by Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, a massive trophy that is anticipated to break the $100 million mark during the sale. Following hot on its heels is Andy Warhol’s Sixty Last Suppers (estimated at around $60 million), a comical proliferation of Da Vinci’s masterpiece that offers a contemporary counterpoint to Salvator Mundi that anchors its presence amongst works less than half its age.
The week’s proceedings conclude with a back to back pair of sales on Thursday, November 16th, when both Phillips and Sotheby’s launch their Post-War and Contemporary entries in the week’s sales offering. At Phillips, the auction house continues to expand its ambitions towards the higher end of the contemporary market, leading a 44-lot sale with a striking Peter Doig, Red House, which carries an estimate of $18 million to $22 million, a price that could potentially reset the artist’s auction record if the bids are there that evening. A striking, slender Franz Kline will also top the sale, estimated at $10 million to $15 million.
The week concludes on Thursday at Sotheby’s as one final Contemporary Evening Sale will close out the week’s proceedings. The 46-lot sale features a series of strong works, topped by Alberto’s Burri’s rarely seen series of black plastic assemblages, Nero Plastica L.A. (1963), which is anticipated to push past the $20 million mark, and potentially set a new auction record for the artist. The sale also features Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of George Dyer, which is anticipated to reach its $35 million to $40 million estimate range.
The sales begin tomorrow, Art Observed will be covering live on Instagram and Twitter.
— D. Creahan
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Auction Page]
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Auction Page]
Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale [Auction Page]
Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Auction [Phillips]
Sotheby’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale [Auction Page]