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Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale took place on June 18, 2013 in London. The sale garnered $100.4 million and sold 84% by lot and 87% by value. The top lot of the night was Wassily Kandinsky’s (1866-1944) Studie zu Improvisation 3 (1909), which sold for $21.1 million, a few million shy of its $24.7 million high estimate. The painting is from the artist’s renowned “Improvisation” series, which signaled his transition into abstraction. Many of Kandinsky’s works from this period reside in museum collections.

Other highlights from the sale include Amedeo Modigliani’s (1884-1920) portrait of the art dealer Paul Guillame (1916), which brought $10.6 million; Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Femme assise dans un fauteuil (1960), which sold for $9.5 million; Claude Monet’s (1840-1926) landscape painting Sainte-Adresse (1873), which garnered $4.4 million; and Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) iconic marble sculpture Eve après le péché (1900-1915), which earned $4.4 million. Records were set for Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) and Eugène Boudin (1824-1898).

Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s London, said, “There was great depth of bidding on works of high quality at all price levels, with strong participation from many new and existing collectors from both traditional and growth markets.”

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After a whirlwind of auctions last week in New York, which included a historic $495 million post-war sale at Christie’s, Phillips’ Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 16, 2013 seemed quite subdued. The boutique auction house’s sale garnered $78.6 million and sold 81% by lot and 88% by value.

The highlight of the night was Andy Warhol’s (1928-1987) Pop Art masterpiece, Four Marilyns (1962), which sold for $38.2 million. The sale confirmed that Warhol remains a powerful presence in the art market. During the auction two other Warhol works were sold -- Flowers (1964), which brought $2.4 million and Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) (1967), which sold for upward of $2 million. Other major sales that night included Jean-Michel Basquiat’s (1960-1988) Untitled (1961), which garnered over $4 million and Roy Lichtenstein’s (1923-1997) Still Life (1972), which also sold for upward of $4 million.

Phillips has undergone a number of changes in the past year. Following the departure of Chairman Simon de Pury in December 2012, the company changed its name from Phillips de Pury & Co. to Phillips. In February 2013, the auction house revealed 10,000-square-feet of new gallery space at the company’s headquarters on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The expansion was an attempt to compete with the major auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

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Wednesday, 06 February 2013 13:59

As Expected, Picasso Dominates Sotheby’s Sale

Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Femme Assise Prés D’une Fenêtre (1932) sold for nearly $45 million at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern evening sale on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 in London. The coveted portrait of Picasso’s lover and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, came from a private collection and was last seen on the market in 1997 when it sold for $7.5 million. The portrait was guaranteed to sell due to a third-party “irrevocable bid” and while the buyer remains anonymous, some believe it was the guarantor, represented by Patti Wong, the chairman of Sotheby’s Asia.

The auction, which totaled $190 million, also included a separately catalogued section of 21 Surrealist works. All but three works sold, adding $26 million to the overall sale. Highlights from this section included Joan Miro’s (1893-1983) Femme revant de l’evasion (1945), which sold for $13 million and also carried a third-party guarantee.

Another considerable sale of the night was a series of three drawings by Egon Schiele (1890-1918), which brought $22 million. The works were put on sale by Vienna’s Leopold Museum. Another Schiele work, a pencil, gouache, and watercolor piece completed in 1915, sold to Wong on behalf a client for $13 million.

The sale was Sotheby’s second highest for an Impressionist sale in London.

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At Sotheby’s London’s Evening Sale of Old Master & British Paintings on December 5, a rare drawing by Raphael set a new record for the artist at auction. A masterpiece in black chalk, Head of a Young Apostle (circa 1519-20), has been part of the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth since 1720 and features one of the key figures in the artist’s final work, Transfiguration, a celebrated painting from the Renaissance, which is now in Rome’s Vatican Museum.

Amid a considerable amount of bidding both in the auction room and on the telephone, Head of a Young Apostle sold for $47.8 million, nearly three times the drawing’s low estimate of $16 million to $24 million. Gregory Rubenstein, Worldwide Head of Old Master Drawings at Sotheby’s, said, “A number of the world’s greatest collectors stepped up tonight in recognition of the genius of Raphael and the extraordinary beauty of this drawing.”

The sale proves that the market is still prime for Old Master works. Head of a Young Apostle is one of three exceptional Raphael drawings to appear at auction in the past 50 years; each work has set an all-time sale record for an Old Master drawing. This particular sale is the highest price paid at a European auction in 2012 and is the second highest Old Master sale to date. The first is Peter Paul Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents, which sold for $76.7 million at Sotheby’s in 2002.

Sotheby’s Old Master sale realized almost $94 million and sold 74.5% by lot.

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