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Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale

November 3

The market for blue-chip works and premiere private collections proved strong at Christie's New York Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art. The highly anticipated 84-lot sale, dense with works by the great masters of the Impressionist and Modern periods, included top selling works by Henri Matisse, Juan Gris, Joan Miró and Fernand Léger, among others. The sale realized $231,439,500 (£143,492,490/ €164,322,045) and was 80% sold by lot and 88% sold by value.

Henri Matisse's monumental sculpture Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV) was the night's top lot, setting a record for the artist at $48,802,500 (£30,257,550/€34,649,775)  surpassing its top estimate of $35 million. The occasion marked the first time in history that a work from the artist's celebrated Back series has ever come to auction. Other leading lots included Alberto Giacometti's Femme de Venise V, conceived in 1956 and cast in 1958, which achieved $10,274,500 (£6,370,190/€7,294,895), three works by Fernand Léger from Property from the Collection of Max Palevsky, including La Tasse de Thé, 1921, which realized $8,146,500 (£5,050,830/€5,784,015), and Egon Schiele's Mann und Frau (Umarmung), 1917, which sold for $7,362,500 (£4,564,750/€5,227,375).

Post-war and Contemporary Art Sets 5 New Artist Records,

November 9

The Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art realized $272,873,000/£169,181,260 /€199,197,290, selling 93% by lot and 92% by value. The sale had a pre-sale estimate of $239.2 to $348.6 million with 75 lots. Buyer geography by lot was 63% American, 20% European, 4% Asian, and 13% other.

Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie's Americas, commented: “We welcomed an enthusiastic response from the global collecting community this evening, giving Christie's the week's highest total for Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sales. Led by an exceptional group of museum-quality works from Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Gerhard Richter, this was an evening rich with masterpiece-quality works offered fresh to the market from this season's most important private, corporate and estate collections.”

The evening's top price of $42,642,500/£26,438,350/ €31,129,025 a world auction record for Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) was achieved for his Pop Art masterpiece Ohhh...Alright… Painted in 1964 using his signature Ben-Day dots, Lichtenstein's image of a blue-eyed, flame haired beauty illustrates the brash comic styling of the artist's most celebrated period of artistic production. In a sales week that will be remembered as “the season of Warhols”, Christie's led the auction market for the artist, offering 15 Warhol works and achieving $70,381,500/£43,636,530/ €51,378,495. The top price among the selection was for Andy Warhol's hand-painted masterpiece, Big Campbell's Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable), 1962, which sold to an anonymous bidder for $23,882,500/ £14,807,150/ €17,434,225. At six feet high, the painting is one of the largest examples of Warhol's most famous and beloved images of a Campbell's Soup Can. It was offered from the renowned collection of the Seattle collector Barney A. Ebsworth, who has owned it since 1987.

In total, 45 works of art sold for over $1 million, eight works for over $5 million, and four works for over $10 million. Balloon Flower (Blue) by Jeff Koons (b. 1955), from the Daimler Art Collection is one of the artist's most important outdoor sculptures and belongs to his acclaimed and beloved Celebration series fetched $16,882,500/ £10,467,150/ €12,324,225. Balloon Flower (Blue) is the first in a series of only five Balloon Flowers in existence, each a different colour.


Strong Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art brings $227.6 million  

November 2

The sale of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby's in New York brought a strong total of $227,561,000, comfortably within the pre-sale estimate of $195/266 million. The sale was led by the record-setting price brought by Amedeo Modigliani's Nu assis sur un divan (La Belle Romaine) -- $68,962,500 -- which was well above expectations and the strongest price achieved in this category at Sotheby's in New York since May 2006. Four works sold for more than $15 million and 38 sold for over $1 million.

“We are delighted with the results of our sale, which build on the success of the past year, and are our best in this category in New York since May 2008,” said Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department in New York. Le Bassin aux Nymphéas, the spectacular canvas from Claude Monet's iconic water lilies series, sold for $24,722,500 (est. $20/30 million) and Jeanne Hébuterne (auchapeau), one of the first portraits Amedeo Modigliani painted of his great love, sold for $19,122,500, well in excess of the high estimate (est. $9/12 million).

This sale included a group of works by Henri Matisse attesting to his genius in different media. Danseuse dans le fauteuil, sol en damier, a visually-arresting canvas that marked the beginning of a revolutionary campaign in Matisse's art in the fall of 1942 fetched $20,802,500, above a high estimate of $18 million, and Deux Négresses, one of the most striking sculptures of Matisse's oeuvre, sold for $8,482,500.

Le Saule, a beautiful example of Claude Monet's work at the height of the Impressionist movement, achieved $6,522,500 (est. $4.5/6.5 million). The painting depicts a group of willow trees against a background of poplars along the Epte river in Giverny, the French town that inspired Monet with the most important and celebratory imagery of his late work.

Contemporary Art Evening Sale Totals $222,454,500

November 9

The excellent sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby's in New York totaled $222,454,500 (£138,067,589, €160,103,711), exceeding the pre-sale high estimate of $214 million. The sale set five new artist records and was 90.7% sold by lot.

Highlights of the sale were Large Coca-Cola by Andy Warhol, which surpassed the high estimate to sell for $35,362,500 (est. $20/25 million), and Mark Rothko's Untitled from 1955, which sold for $22,482,500 (est. $20/30 million).

“Two things were going on this evening: the iconic classical market and the young market” said Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art and the evening's auctioneer. “Both benefited from the great depth of bidding in our sale, and resulted in a very strong total of $222 million, above the high estimate. Most of the bidding was from very smart collectors, some who were long time and others who were new sophisticated entrants from the global community. They all responded enthusiastically to the great works on offer”.


A stunning piece of China's Imperial history

November 11

A seal personally commissioned and used by the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799) sold for £2,708,000 at Bonhams Sale of Fine Chinese Art on November 11th in London.

The perfect four centimetre square jade seal bearing the inscription 'Zi Qiang Bu Xi', ('Self-Strengthening Never Ceases') is closely linked to the Emperor's 80th birthday celebration which coincided with the 55th year of his reign and is an iconic reminder of China's golden age. This iconic Chinese object, a small exquisite work of art, created huge interest before the sale in Europe and as well as China. On a recent visit to Beijing with Bonhams Senior Specialist, Asaph Hyman, no fewer than five curators of the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, turned out to view it, as well as other interested parties.

The sale attracted huge excitement which was evident in the saleroom packed with some 200 people. When the Imperial seal, lot 55, was called, the atmosphere was electric. There was a deep hush in the room as the bids moved between three buyers, all in the room. Finally it was sold to a Chinese buyer from Beijing.

Forthcoming auctions


Highest Priced Work by an Indian Woman Artist December 8-9

100 works of art by 43 modern and contemporary Indian artists with a total low estimate of Rs. 27.5 crore (US$ 6.5 million) and high estimate of Rs. 35 crore (US$ 8 million)

On offer is a selection of exceptional works by modern masters S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, Ram Kumar and Akbar Padamsee, along with works by prominent contemporary artists Surendran Nair, Subodh Gupta, Shibu Natesan and N.S. Harsha.

The auction features a remarkable selection of works including paintings, drawings, installations and sculptures, and will take place online at on December 8-9, 2010.

Leading the sale is a monumental mural made up of sixteen individual canvas panels by one of India's most prominent and critically acclaimed female artists - Arpita Singh. Titled 'Wish Dream', the mural measures an impressive 24 feet x 13 feet. Within the artist's deep and complex oeuvre spanning more than four decades, 'Wish Dream' is the largest work she has created. Estimated at Rs. 8-10 crore (US$ 1.9  2.3 million), this work is also the highest-estimated work by an Indian woman artist to ever be offered in auction.

This auction catalogue include an impressive array of works with excellent provenance by the celebrated modern masters such as S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, Ram Kumar and Akbar Padamsee alongside some of the biggest names in contemporary Indian art including Surendran Nair, Subodh Gupta, Shibu Natesan and N.S. Harsha.

Also featured in the sale is F.N. Souza's striking 1956 portrait, 'Disintegrated Head'. Here, the artist splinters the head of a saint, already pierced by the arrows of his sacrifice and suffering, into its component planes, each separated from the other by thick black lines.


Chinese ceramics & works of art

December 1

Approximately 400 works valued in excess of HK$555 million (US$71 million) from three well-known private collections lead the season: Greenwald, Shorenstein, and Fonthill.

The day-long series of auctions is lead by the imperial cloisonné enamel double crane censers from the Fonthill Collection expected to realize in excess of HK$120 million (US$15.6 million).

Among the many renowned single-owner collections presented this season is For Imperial Appreciation: Fine Chinese Ceramics from the Greenwald Collection, a superb private collection featuring exquisite Ming and Qing Imperial porcelains. Gerald Greenwald has been a passionate collector of Chinese ceramics for more than thirty-five years, during which time he has amassed a remarkable collection of fine and very rare pieces. 

The Fonthill Collection is especially famous for its exceptional imperial cloisonné and champlevé enamels on metal and for its superb imperial enameled porcelains. Leading the collection is a magnificent and extremely rare pair of imperial cloisonné enamel double crane censers from the Yongzheng period (1723-1735), estimate upon request. Representing peace and longevity, these magnificent cranes are auspicious creatures that may have flanked an Imperial throne.


Magnificent jewels

December 9

Just in time for the holidays: on 9 December 2010, Sotheby's sale of Magnificent Jewels in New York will offer collectors a remarkable selection of exceptional gemstones and signed jewels, with estimates ranging from $5,000 to more than $3 million. The day begins with a single-owner sale of Jewels from the Estate of William B. Dietrich Sold to Benefit the William B. Dietrich Foundation, an organization committed to the restoration and preservation of art and architectural treasures in the Philadelphia area. The sale of Magnificent Jewels will immediately follow, and will continue through the afternoon and evening. The auctions offer 450 lots estimated in excess of $40 million.

The auction of Magnificent Jewels is led by three spectacular diamonds. Appearing on the catalogue cover is A Magnificent Platinum and Diamond Pendant-Necklace, Tiffany & Co.from a private collection, est. $3.2/3.8 million.

An extraordinary sculptural Pair of Pearl and Diamond Hoop Earclips, JAR, 1987 illustrates the uncompromising artisanship that characterizes jewels by Joel Rosenthal, est. $350/ 450,000). The appearance of this dramatic pair of earrings at auction represents a singular collecting opportunity for the many enthusiasts of JAR's unique creations.

Period jewelry is well represented in the Magnificent Jewels sale, with designs by Georges Fouquet, Suzanne Belperron, Dreicer & Co. and Raymond Yard among the pieces offered. The Pair of Platinum, Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendant-Earclips, Tiffany & Co, circa 1914 (est. $300/500,000) will interest both those who admire vintage jewels as well as collectors of superb natural pearls. Complementing the period jewels is a group of noble jewels formerly from the Thurn und Taxis Collection, originally acquired by the present owner in the landmark auction conducted by Sotheby's in 1992.


Rare Collection of Heuer Watches

December 15

The sale of the 'Haslinger Collection' of fine and rare Heuer watches will take place on Wednesday 15 December at Bonhams New Bond Street, London.  Paul Maudsley, Director of the Watch Department comments, "These 81 watches in the collection represent the 'best of the best' which is why TAG Heuer are happy to showcase highlights of them as part of their anniversary celebrations. The watches range in value from £1,500 to £15,000." This museum-quality single owner collection has been built up with the aim of representing the best of Heuer. Comprising over one hundred lots, it includes many of the most iconic models such as the Silverstone, Autavia, Carrera, Daytona and Monaco. Many are new-old- stock and as such represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire some of the finest examples of their type.

TAG Heuer have also created a unique watch especially for this auction. It is based on the newly launched Silverstone model and the dial will incorporate Jack Heuer's signature, a true one-off for the discerning collector. All proceeds will be donated to the Green Cross International charity. Arno Haslinger will also donate his original Silverstone to be auctioned for this cause and Bonhams will add a further 20% to the hammer price and an additional £5,000 in support of the charity.

Prior to arriving in London for auction in December, a selection of highlights from the collection will be on display as part of the TAG Heuer 150th Anniversary world tour, which is launching at the Basle Watch Fair on 18th March and finishing at the Paris Motor show, 2nd  17th October.


Asian Works of Art

December 3 and 4

Skinner, Inc. will host an auction of Asian Works of Art on Friday, December 3rd and Saturday, December 4th in the Boston gallery. More than 1,700 lots of material will be offered from jades, to bronzes, to paintings and scrolls, ceramics, furniture and much more. Prices are diverse as the offerings themselves, with lot estimates beginning at $200 providing an opportunity for novice bidders to build their collections. The sale also boasts works of greater value. One jewel of the sale is a large sea green colored jade mythical animal from the Qianlong period, China, 18th century. The jade is estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.

Also being offered are several important collections including the painting and calligraphy collection of P.Y. Wang (1893-1977). P.Y. Wang, known as the “Gold King” of Shanghai in the early 20th century, invested in and reorganized the Land Bank of China. He later ventured into real estate and insurance, while some of his investments were purely motivated by his desire to support national industry and to preserve national treasures. The collection includes more than fifty fan paintings and calligraphic works done by Wu Hufan, Zhang Gunian, Liu Haisu, Liang Qichao, Chen Dingshan, Feng Chaoran, Gu Linshi, Fan Haolin, and Ding Fuzhi, to name a few. One of the highlights is an album of twenty-five leaves, done on the occasion of Boyuan's eightieth birthday celebration. The impressive album includes Zhang Daqian's ten leaves of mountainous landscapes plus six leaves of calligraphy, Wang Yachen's two leaves of bird and flower paintings, C.C. Wang and his wife Zheng Yuansu's two leaves of pine and mountains, Tao Shoubo's four leaves of prunus branches, among others. It is conservatively estimated at $6,000 to $8,000. Another Zhang Daqian's blue and green mountainous landscape, done in 1953, is also featured.




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