With the bustling week of sales and exhibitions in Basel now capped, the final major auctions of the spring are set to take place in London, as two weeks of auctions will look to test the waters of a market seemingly on the rebound after a strong outing earlier this season in New York. Beginning this week with a pair of Impressionist and Modern Sales, the week’s proceedings should make for an intriguing wrap up of the first half of 2018.
The sales begin tomorrow at Sotheby’s with a 36-lot sale of works that carries a group of strong works, albeit few with the potential for major fireworks on the auction block. With the major works of the spring season relegated to the sales just a few weeks prior in New York, this week’s sale will focus on a series of stronger pieces that should continue the momentum of prior sales, but do little to push beyond their figures. Case in point is a striking Pablo Picasso, Buste de Femme de Profil (Femme Écrivant), a depiction of his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter that is anticipated to push towards £30 million. The price, if achieved, will come quite close to the artist’s last major tally for a similar work at the aforementioned New York sale, a strong figure that should hold up the higher end of the artist’s market without making any major new statements. Similarly, a composition by Joan Miró will look to top an estimate of £8 million to £12 million, a number that won’t push beyond his usual market tally. A Claude Monet canvas from 1871 will also round out the top half of the sale, carrying an estimate of £6.5 to £8 million.
Following Sotheby’s sale, the proceedings kick over to Christie’s for a 45-lot sale boasting similar appointments and a strong offering that should look to match the tempo across town. The sale is also topped by works from both Pablo Picasso and Monet, the former being a masterful portrait of Dora Maar, which is likely to push past £20 million, while a depiction of La Gare Saint-Lazare by Monet will also look to achieve a strong tally. Sold from the collection of the Bass family, the piece is anticipated to potentially top £30 million. A striking piece by Kazimir Malevich, Landscape, is also on offer, boasting an estimate of £7 million to £9 million.
Marking a final look at the Impressionist and Modern Market before the summer rolls in, the week should help paint a more accurate picture of the current market conditions. Art Observed will be covering live on Twitter and Instagram.
— D. Creahan