With €19 million, the results achieved for Impressionist and Modern Art have yet again highlighted the importance of rare lots fresh to the market, like the magnificent painting by James Ensor and works by Wifredo Lam, making their first appearance on the market. Two sales celebrated the art of this period today: Impressionist and Modern Art, which totalled €13,332,125 and modern art works from an Italian collection, which fetched €5,475,750.
The landmark event of this evening was undoubtedly the bidding battle that raged around James Ensor's masterpiece. Fifteen international collectors fought for this exceptional painting, appearing at auction for the first time, which has remained in the same family for nearly a century. It was finally sold to a private European collector for €7.4 million, achieving the artist's world auction record.
Aurélie Vandevoorde, Head of the Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art department, says: "The sale of this magnificent painting in a truly electric atmosphere was one of those magical moments we sometimes experience in an auction house. I am delighted that this absolute masterpiece fired up the interest of so many of the world's leading collectors."
Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Sale on December 7th features a broad array of paintings, works on paper and sculptures by the leading artists of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Highlights include a rediscovered masterpiece by James Ensor, Squelette arrêtant masques. Painted in Ostend in 1891 this seminal work was a gift from the painter and then hidden in a family collection for more than a century. It is a great privilege for Sotheby’s to reveal to the public this previously unknown masterpiece. It is without doubt one of the most significant rediscoveries concerning the artist. The sale also features fresh-to-the-market Surrealist works by Magritte, Dali, Masson, Brauner and Man Ray, as well works by the most important modern masters such as Picasso, Van Dongen and Chagall and a group of historic and very rare early works by Wifredo Lam.