This next week, New York City will see a string of Modern and Contemporary Auctions take place at the major auction houses, following up a tense season of political uncertainty in the U.S. with a series of sales that may offer a referendum on the nation’s current economic climate. With a number of special sales joining the traditional major evening sales, the week should offer an intriguing picture of just how healthy the market is, or perhaps how daring its collectors are feeling.
The sales begin Sunday at Christie’s, when the auction house kicks off its Impressionist and Modern Art Sale. The auction, a 60-lot affair, also features the collection of Herbert and Adele Klapper, who made their fortune in the garment industry and built an impressive collection of modern masterpieces, among them Pablo Picasso’s Femme accoudée, which is estimated at $10 million to $15 million. Also of note is a monumental Monet Water Lillies piece, which carries an estimate of $30 million to $50 million, as well as an impressive Van Gogh piece carrying an estimate of upwards of $20 million.
The following evening, Sotheby’s will launch its take on the Impressionist and Modern Market, kicking off a 65-lot sale that carries a number of strong pieces for buyers’ consideration. Chief among them is a prime Marsden Hartley piece from the artist’s Berlin series, a swirling vortex of abstraction that comes from the collection of Ed and Deborah Shein and is anticipated to sell for $30 million. A swirling composition by Wassily Kandinsky also leads the evening’s offerings, estimated at $22 million to $35 million.
On Tuesday, Christie’s will launch a special sale, culling together the leading works from the collection of Barney A. Ebsworth to create an impressively appointed 42-lot sale. At the forefront is a hotly anticipated Edward Hopper, Chop Suey, which carries an estimate of $70 million to $100 million, a figure that would handily reset the artist’s auction record. A Willem de Kooning from this sale also hints at a new auction record, and would just achieve it if the artist’s low estimate of $65 million is reached. With a string of works carrying similarly hefty estimates, look for this Christie’s sale to make the biggest statement this week.
Sales return to Sotheby’s on November 14th, with a 54-lot Contemporary Sale and an 11-lot curated sale of works from the David Teiger collection capping off the auction House’s week. The Teiger collection is led by a striking Peter Doig, House of Pictures, which carries an estimate of $8 million to $12 million, as well as a swirling de Kooning carrying an estimate of $7 million to $10 million. The main sale launches shortly after, featuring a string of works capped by a powerful Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild (estimated at $20 million, as well as a powerful Jean-Michel Basquiat that also is anticipated to sell in this range. A Jasper Johns Flag also leads the sale, carrying a pre-sale estimate of $12 million to $18 million.
The following evening, November 15th, caps off the last sale of the fall season, as a pair of sales put the final pin in the week. The night begins at Phillips, where an early sale of 41-lots carry a few surprises and impressive offerings for the auction house, chief among them a dazzling Joan Miró, estimated at $12 million to $18 million, as well as an Alberto Burri piece estimated at $10 million to $15 million.
The week’s sale wraps at Christie’s, with an impressive 50-lot offering that may well reset several records set or toppled earlier in the week. Of prime significance is David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), an iconic piece that could well beat out the artist’s auction record when it hits the auction block, already anticipating a $20 million estimate. Also of note is Mark Rothko’s powerful Untitled (Rust, Blacks on Plum), a dark, somber composition that carries an estimate of $35 million to $45 million. A Jean-Michel Basquiat piece called Discography 2 is also on offer, carrying a price range of $20 million to $30,000,000.
For this last sale of the 2018 calendar year, the fraught political environment in the U.S. and recent uptick in market strength should make for an intriguing backdrop to this sale. Art Observed will cover live on Instagram and Twitter.
— D. Creahan
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Auction Site]
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale [Auction Site]
Christie’s: An American Place | The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection Evening Sale [Auction Site]
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale [Auction Site]
Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale [Auction Site]
Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Evening Sale [Phillips]