This past Tuesday, the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale realized $368 million, exceeding the pre-sale high estimate of $351 million and raising Sotheby’s 2015 Impressionist & Modern Art sales to $687 million to date. The auction, now the second-highest total in company history in this category, hosted an impressive range of works, a third of which had not been seen in public for more than 50 years.
Following one of the most highly-attended weekend viewings of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s, the auction was a truly exciting evening. The bidding was global, with significant activity from collectors in over 20 countries including China, Russia, Brazil and India in addition to those in Europe and the United States. It was also invigorating to see bids from collectors that have been characteristically collecting in other categories, such as Contemporary Art or that of the Old Masters. Fearless, vanguard collectors look for quality across the board and that was evident in our salesroom this week.
Vincent van Gogh’s vibrant L’Allée des Alyscamps led the night, fetching $66 million (far surpassing the pre-sale expectations of $40 million). Five bidders competed for this vibrant work, which ultimately sold to an Asian private collector. This is now a record price for a landscape by one of the most mythic artists of the late 19th century.
The sale also featured works from several important American collections. All eleven pieces from the estate of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Jerome H. Stone found buyers, amounting to a total of $58 million. Top offerings from the collection included works by Marc Chagall, whom Mr. Stone visited several times during his life, and Alberto Giacometti whose Buste de Diego (Aménophis) soared past its estimate of $6 – 8 million to make the impressive sum of $13 million.
From the Goldwyn Collection, assembled by Hollywood legends Samuel Goldwyn, Sr. and Sam Goldwyn, Jr., Pablo Picasso’s Femme au chignon dans un fauteuil stood out, selling for $29.9 million. This portrait of Picasso's lover and muse, Françoise Gilot, had remained in the Goldwyn Collection since 1956 and set a record for a portrait of Gilot by Picasso.
Other highlights from the Evening sale included five works by Monet, totaling $115 million. His 1905 Nymphéas was sold to an American private collector, achieving a price of $54 million, the second highest of the night. Three of the top five lots offered were purchased by Asian private collectors, including Monet’s scenic marvel, Bassin aux nymphéas, les rosiers, which its previous owner held since 1991.
From Impressionist to Modern works of art, the sale included works of sensational rarity and collectors responded to this quality with unbounded enthusiasm. We look forward to continuing this momentum in the London salesroom this June. Please contact us if you would like to discuss potential consignments in this exuberant market.
Senior Vice President, Head of Evening Sales
Impressionist and Modern Art