Auctioneer Henry Wyndham at London’s Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening sale.
LONDON - When the opening lot of London’s Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening sale, an Edgar Degas charcoal study of two dancers, propelled past its £180,000 ($294,000) high estimate and soared to £1.4 million ($2.3 million), the stage was set for a memorable night at Sotheby’s. And indeed it was, as the combined £215.8 million ($345.3 million) sale total made it the highest ever in Sotheby’s London’s history.
Leading the sale, Camille Pissarro’s Le Boulevard Montmartre, Matinée de Printemps defied presale expectations, selling for £19.7 million ($32.1 million), nearly five times the artist’s previous auction record. A terrific example from the Boulevard Montmartre series, the work is a reminder that despite his reputation as a painter of rural life, Pissarro was also a preeminent painter of the city. The work was one of the greatest Impressionist pictures to come to auction in a decade.
Camille Pissarro’s Le Boulevard Montmartre, Matinée de Printemps sold for an artist record £19.7 million.
Seven bidders competed passionately for Vincent van Gogh’s L'Homme est en mer, an intimate canvas that the artist painted while in Saint-Rémy in October 1889. The lot finally sold for £16.9 million ($27.5 million), the highest price for a Van Gogh painting at auction in London in 25 years and the sixth highest ever for the artist.
Vincent van Gogh’s L'Homme est en mer sold for£16.9 million.
Enthusiasm for works by Pablo Picasso reached a crescendo with Composition (Composition au Minotaure) from The Private Collection of Jan Krugier selling for £10.4 million ($17 million), a new record for a work on paper by the artist, following a frenzy of bidding. After hammering down a string of Picassos from the Krugier Collection that all raced past their high estimate, auctioneer Henry Wyndham paused for a much-needed sip of water before endeavoring to open bidding on another Picasso at lot 21. It was a theme that would continue throughout the evening as excited bidders kept a pace that scarcely ever slowed its momentum.
Pablo Picasso's Composition (Composition au Minotaure) from The Private Collection of Jan Krugier sold for £10.4 million.
Buyers snapped up all of the superb Krugier lots, the majority of which far exceeded their high estimates. Among them, Alberto Giacometti’s iconic Homme Traversant Une Place Par Un Matin de Soleil, which brought £ 8.5 million ($13.8 million) over the high estimate of £5 million ($8 million). The late dealer’s collection totaled £74.9 million ($122.1 million), drawing the interest of two art institutions and easily exceeding its presale expectations.