Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 6 November 2013 will open with a private collection of seminal works created between 1910 and 1930. Futur! Masterworks of the Avant-Garde features museum-quality examples by artists including Giacomo Balla, Joan Miró, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris. Together, these works tell a compelling story of the European avant-garde, from Cubism and Futurism, through Dada, Surrealism and Abstraction. The fourteen pictures represent perhaps the finest group of Modernist masterpieces to appear at auction since Sotheby’s landmark sale of the Malbin Collection in 1990. Sotheby’s will debut the collection in its London galleries from October 12 – 17, before returning to New York for exhibition in its York Avenue galleries beginning 1 November.
Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York, said: “This is a treasure-trove of Modernism. Collections rarely explore a theme with such power and unity. Each work adds a distinct chapter, showing artists’ engagement with a radically transforming universe – mass communication, the automobile and airplane, technology, photography and cinema. Just as today’s world was born in those years, many more recent movements such as Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art and Abstraction also have their roots in the artists represented here.”
Other highlights from the upcoming sale include classic Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, including Paul Gauguin's Petit Breton à l'oie from 1889.
The Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale totaled $290,244,000 and was 81.2% sold-by-lot. The top lot of the sale was Alberto Giacometti’s Grande Tête Mince (Grande tête de Diego), which had remained in the same private collection since 1980 and achieved $50,005,000, meeting its high estimate. Works by Pablo Picasso brought exceptional prices throughout the night, led by Tête de Femme, his 1935 portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter that reached $39,925,000 – well in excess of its $30 million high estimate. Picasso’s Mousquetaire à la pipe set a new auction record for a late work by the artist at $30,965,000, soaring above its $18 million high estimate. Futur! Masterworks of the Avant-Garde collection totaled $64.3 million, highlighted by Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla’s Automobile in Corsa that sold for $11,477,000 – a new auction record for the artist. Strong prices for Impressionist works included Claude Monet’s Glaçons, Effet Blanc that brought $16,125,000 and a new auction record for Gustave Courbet with his Étretat: Les Falaises realizing $3,749,000.