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.”