With another auction come and gone in New York, Christie’s has posed quite a challenge to its competitors last night, closing out a well-run sale with strong results and a set of major auction records broken. The 37-lot sale was well-appointed, and the sale moved steadily through its paces, ultimately finishing at a final tally of $416,040,000 with only 4 lots going unsold.
The sale’s opening Pablo Picasso lot tripled estimate, bringing a final of $3,372,500, while an Alberto Giacometti portrait sold at a similar figure that matched estimate to the tune of $3,612,500. A second Picasso jump-started the sale, finishing at a strong $9,537,500 (just over estimate), while a Miró in the next lot finished at an impressive $21,687,500, beating its $15 million high with little difficulty. A Matisse portrait undersold shortly after, yet still made a strong price of $14,375,000.
The evening’s cover lot, Léger’s Le grand déjeuner followed close behind, selling at estimate $19,437,500, but it was the Kazimir Malevich work that was the star lot of the evening, rocketing out of the gates to finish at a final of, $85,812,500, easily resetting the artist’s auction record set in 2008 for the same work.
The sale saw a brief lull in the following lots, with a Nolde work passing at lot 15, before an Alberto Giacometti work just topped estimate for a final of $15,781,250, bringing the sale quickly to the second major record-beating work of the evening, a Constantin Brancusi sculpture that quickly passed $60 million to hit a final price of $71,187,500, the second major auction record of the evening to topple. Another strong lot came shortly after with a Vincent Van Gogh canvas that met estimates to reach a final of $39,687,500.
The sale cooled off considerably in the following lots. With most of the major lots having already passed, a Manet at lot 29 achieving double estimate at $11,000,000 was a rare highlight, while a string of quick sales and passes brought the sale to a quick close.
The sales continue tomorrow as Sotheby’s takes its shot at its Contemporary Art Sale.
— D. Creahan
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Sale [Christie's]