Results: Christie's NY Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale

I just reported the results of the Sotheby Impressionist and Modern sale, which were solid, and now that sale was followed up by the Chrisite's NY sale.  The Christie's sale offered 84 lots of which 67 sold for a respectable sell through rate of 80%. The sale totaled $231.4 million including buyers premium, and like the Sotheby's sale fell within the pre sale estimate of $199 million to $287 million.  The top selling lot was a sculpture by Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV), bronze with dark brown patina, conceived circa 1930 and cast in 1978 (see image).  It sold for $48.8 million including buyers premium and was purchased by the Gagosian Gallery. The pre sale estimate was $25/$35 million. The top ten lots from the sale all sold for above $5 million each including buyers premium.

Christie's stated about the sale

Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie’s Americas, commented: “This was a very strong sale,with deep bidding from a diverse group of collectors representing North and South America, Europe and Asia. The runaway success of Back IV, a monumental bronze from Matisse’s most celebrated series, proved yet again that there is tremendous appetite among collectors for rare and important works from private collections. We are pleased with the results achieved for the three private collections offered in tonight’s sale, including the world record-setting Gris, a triumvirate of Légers, and a fantastic group of Seurat drawings.”

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.

Kelly Crow report in the Wall Street Journal about the sale

Discretionary sellers played a key role in Christie's super-sized, two-hour sale. A quartet of works offered up by financier Henry Kravis were estimated to sell for at least $38 million but ultimately fetched $50 million combined. The highlight of Mr. Kravis's group was Juan Gris's still life from 1913, "Violin and Guitar," which sold for a record $28.6 million to an anonymous European collector bidding over the telephone. Another work in the group, Joan Miro's 1938 "Air," sold to London dealer Alan Hobart for $10.3 million.

Yet Christie's had to wrangle a bit to sell a suite of five works by Postimpressionist Georges Seurat that were put up for sale by an anonymous French collector. The best of the Seurat drawings was a $3.3 million, black-crayon depiction of a woman in a creamy, fitted jacket and black ruffled skirt, "The Promenade."

New York dealer John Driscoll paid $2 million for another Seurat, a six-inch study the artist did in preparation for his pointillist masterpiece, "A Sunday on La Grand Jatte," which now hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. Mr. Driscoll said he was "surprised" he won after only placing a single bid, considering the study's historic link: "Works with sex appeal seem to be selling better right now."

To read the WSJ article, click HERE.

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