Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale on 5 May brought a total of $195.7 million, nearly reaching the high end of the pre-sale estimate. Spirited bidding from the U.S., Asia and Europe resulted in ten works achieving prices over $5 million, four works exceeded $10 million and two works sold for over $15 million. Two artist records were set: Isamu Noguchi's Undine (Nadja) soared to $4.2 million and Salvador Dali's Spectre du soir sur la plage totaled $5.7 million.
The sale was led by Henri Matisse's Bouquet de fleurs pour le Quatorze Juillet, which climbed to $28.6 million. This work heralds the fresh and colorful style that would define Matisse's career from 1919 onward, and signals the artist's renewed sense of optimism following one of the most troubling periods of his career.
Demand for classic Impressionist pictures remained strong, with Monet's 1890 landscape Effet de printemps à Giverny climbing to $15.2 million. Also by Monet, Fin d'après-midi, Vétheuil, 1880, brought $6.2 million, exceeding its estimate of $2.8/3.5 million.
Amedeo Modigliani's beautiful Jeanne Hébuterne au collier, circa 1916 - 1917, which had not appeared at auction in nearly 70 years, was also hotly contested in a battle and purchased by a private collector for $13.8 million.
Sculpture was highly sought after this evening. A rare lifetime cast of Auguste Rodin's iconic Le penseur achieved $11.8 million after a lengthy three-way battle. Isamu Noguchi's sensual Undine (Nadja) far exceeded its estimate of $600,000 - 900,000, selling for $4.2 million and achieving a world auction record for the artist after being hotly pursued by at least seven bidders.