Sotheby's Sets Record for a Print at Auction

Last week Sotheby's London held its Modern and Contemporary Prints sale with some strong results. The sale totaled $13.9 million (including buyers premiums), with 174 lots offered. The sale saw 142 lots sold for an 81.6% sell through rate.  Only one of the top ten selling items failed to sell above the high estimate.  The top two lots were Picasso's selling for $1.99 and $1.71 million, with an Edvard Munch, Vampire II, Lithograph and woodcut in colors, 1895/1902 selling for $1.2 million.

The record for a print at auction, as well as a record for a Picasson print at auction was set. La Minotauromachie, Etching, 1935 sold for $1.99 million, against an estimate of $625,000.00 to $938,000.00 (see image).

Sotheby's stated about the sale

Discussing the sale, James Mackie, Sotheby’s Prints specialist, said: “A new record has been set for any single print sold at auction with the sale of Pablo Picasso’s La Minotauromachie for £1,273,250. Pablo Picasso was the most important and innovative printmaker of the Modern period and he has been credited with the creation of some of the most significant works in the medium’s five-hundred-year history. La Minotauromachie is considered to be the artist’s masterpiece of printmaking. It reflects key themes of the artist and demonstrates a mastery of technique that is unsurpassed. Nearly all recorded impressions of this subject are now in public or permanent collections round the world. The sale total of £8,885,525 is the highest ever for a Sotheby’s Prints sale held in London. At the core of the sale was a group of works from a Private European Collection, which collectively realised £6,540,175 against an estimate of £3,711,000 – 5,283,000. The price realised for Picasso’s La femme qui pleure is the highest
achieved at auction for a print of this subject by the artist. Bidding during the auction was competitive and globally based.”

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