T he Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale drew excited crowds to Sotheby’s London saleroom, to see Claude Monet’s Le Palais Ducal make history on its auction debut, selling for £27.5 million. The enchanting Venetian vista recently appeared in the highly acclaimed exhibition Monet & Architecture at the National Gallery. Helena Newman, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said: "This spellbinding painting is a true masterpiece and among the very greatest Monet painted during his first and only encounter with Venice."
Watch the bidding battle for Monet’s Le Palais Ducal.
Alongside this, Egon Schiele’s Triestiner Fischerboot (Trieste Fishing Boat) soared to £10.7 million, as bidders battled it out on the phones and in the room. Known particularly for his depictions the human form, Triestiner Fischerboot (Trieste Fishing Boat) marks a period of particular turmoil for Schiele, and a shift in focus for the artist from the figure to his surroundings.
Watch the bidding battle for Schiele's Triestiner Fischerboot.
A number of other works by Schiele were also offered, including a delicate portrait of his sister Gertrude ‘Gerti’ Schiele, Auf dem Bauch liegendes Mädchen, which sold for £1.6 million, and apt marker of the centenary of the artist's death.
Several works from the Bauhaus era were brought together to mark 100 years of the seminal school, including Oskar Schlemmer’s Tischgesellschaft (Group at Table) from the collection of Dr. Erika Pohl-Ströher, which found a buyer for £2.6 million — setting an auction record for the artist.
Created at the height of his powers, when working alongside his groundbreaking contemporaries, such as Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy, Tischgesellschaft exemplifies Schlemmer’s rigourous investigation of the human body as it related to its environs. Wassily Kandinsky's remarkable composition, Vertiefte Regung (Deepened Impulse) — also strongly reinforcing the enduring legacy of the Bauhaus — hammered down at £6.1 million.
Watch the bidding battle for Schlemmer's Tischgesellschaft.
Alberto Giacometti's haunting 1959 portrait Tête De Femme (Annette) sold for £3.3 million and was joined by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's dynamic and colourful Mädchen Auf Dem Diwan (Girl on a Divan) — which achieved £3.9 million.
Following the Impressionist and Modern Art Sale, the Surrealist Art Evening Sale, saw Rene Magritte’s dramatic 1938 painting L'étoile Du Matin hammer down at £5.3 million, closely followed by Francis Picabia's Atrata, from the artist's celebrated Transparences series, on which seven bidders competed, reach £3.7 million. The two sales made a combined total of £87,707,800.
Watch Picabia's Atrata selling in the Surrealist Art Evening Sale.
The sale series continues tomorrow with the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale, beginning at 10.30am GMT.