The Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale boasts an extraordinary offering of 9 works by Pablo Picasso that exemplify the best of his career, including two magnificent Marie-Thérèse canvases from the 1930s. Painted in March 1932, at the pinnacle of Picasso’s near-century long career, Nature morte aux tulipes is one of the artist’s most powerful representations of his iconic muse (est. $35/50 million). The sharp color palette and boldness of form seen in Femme à la fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) (est. $15/20 million) may reflect the intensity of his personal life in 1936: the work followed the birth of his daughter Maya the previous fall with Marie-Thérèse, as well as his separation from his wife Olga and the beginnings of a passionate affair with another important muse, Dora Maar.
Pictures being sold by American museums to benefit future acquisitions include Monet’s Champ de blé, from the Cleveland Museum of Art (est. $5/7 million), Picasso’s Mousquetaire au chapeau. Buste, on offer by the Order of the Trustees of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (est. $3/5 million) and Renoir’s Vase de roses et dahlias from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (est. $400/600,000).
Among the works from private collections are monumental masterpieces from the Estate of the Greek shipping magnate, George Embiricos; property from the Estate of Ambassador Henry E. Catto, Jr. and the collections of Joe and Donnie Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Michael E. Pulizter, Stella Fischbach and Joan Payson Whitney.
THURSDAY, 8 NOVEMBER, NEW YORK - The 8 November Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale brought $163,009,000 at Sotheby’s New York (est. $169.2/245.2 million), bringing the total for Sotheby’s November 2012 auctions of Impressionist and Modern art to $203,115,775. The sale was led by six works by Pablo Picasso that together sold for $81,387,000, featuring two portraits of his iconic muse Marie-Thérèse Walter: Nature morte aux tulipes, which achieved $41,522,500 (right, est. $35/50 million), and Femme à la fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse), which fetched $17,218,500 (est. $15/20 million). Works by notable American museums performed particularly well throughout the evening, as did property from prominent estate collections, important Impressionist pictures, and sculpture by Henry Moore.
Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York, commented: “Tonight’s solid results demonstrate clearly that in this market there continues to be a search for quality. The salesroom was lively, with active participation from today’s truly global art market, although there remains some scrutiny over estimates. Pablo Picasso was tonight’s star with his 1932 portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter sought-after by bidders from several parts of the world. It was especially gratifying to achieve great prices for the three works consigned by different American museums, including the Cleveland Museum of Art’s beautiful landscape by Monet. One of the most exciting moments of the evening came when auctioneer Tobias Meyer opened the bidding on Picasso’s striking work on paper from the legendary collection of Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos. Starting at $3 million, competition quickly drove the final selling price to more than double the high estimate.”