P resented once again in Sotheby's dynamic, innovative digital format pioneered this summer, the sales were streamed live and broadcast globally, with Sotheby’s specialists in New York, London and Hong Kong taking bids and interacting with auctioneer Oliver Barker.
In total, the evening's auctions realized $284 million.
Impressionist & Modern Art Celebrated a White Glove Sale
The 100%-sold Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale totaled $141.1 million, led by a $25.9 million Giacometti’s Femme Leoni. The 1947 sculpture is a masterpiece of Giacometti’s post-war artistic production and one of the first tall, static female sculptures that, along with L’Homme qui marche, came to symbolize Giacometti’s work for the remainder of his life.
Surrealist Italian painter Giorgio De Chirico saw a new auction record this evening with the sale of Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (Ariadne’s Afternoon) for $15,890,400. Together with Man Ray’s Black Widow (which realized $5,779,200), the artworks came to Sotheby’s from the same private collection.
“Both masterpieces are the epitome of museum-quality paintings, and provide a unique glimpse into the profound early output of these two visionary artists,” notes Lisa Dennison, Sotheby’s Chairman, Americas. “Each work showcases the hallmarks of the artist, from the beguiling and enigmatic vistas of de Chirico to Man Ray’s experimentation with perspective and abstraction. Together, the works encapsulate the apex of Modernism in Europe and New York.”
Additional highlights from the auction included Vincent van Gogh’s Fleurs dans un verre, which sold for $16,235,100 and René Magritte’s L’ovation, which sold for $14,052,000.
The Collection of actress and philanthropist Sandra Moss was led by René Magritte’s dreamscape Rêverie de Monsieur James, which sold for $5,089,800. Pierre Bonnard’s La Chevelure d'or realized 4,255,000, and Édouard Vuillard Madame Vuillard lisant le journal achieved $625,000; both artworks are from the Collection of Ambassador and Mrs. Felix Rohatyn.
Four artworks from the Brooklyn Museum – including Claude Monet’s Les Îles à Port-Villez, sold for $4,618,000 – realized $7.2 million in all; proceeds from the sale will be used to support the museum’s collections.
Italian Design Masters Lead Contemporary Art
The evening of marquee auctions began with a $142.8 million Contemporary Art auction led by strong showings for masterpieces of 1950s Italian design.
Leading the evening’s Contemporary auction was a trio of Alfa Romeo concept cars: the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5, Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 7 and Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9D. Individually, each of the B.A.T.s is among the most important automotive concepts ever built. These early 1950s masterworks, penned by Franco Scaglione and executed by Turin, Italy’s Carrozzeria Bertone, pioneered automotive aerodynamics while reasserting the primacy of Italian industrial design in the wake of World War II. The trio realized $14.8 million – a first in Contemporary Art Evening auction history.
Also in a first for a Contemporary Art Evening auction, Italian architect and designer Carlo Mollino’s Important and Unique Dining Table eclipsed an auction record propelled by a three-continent bidding battle, selling for $6.2 million, a record for not only the artist but for any work of Italian design. The exquisite table came from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art
Two important works from the pivotal final years of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s extraordinary life, Black and Jazz, drew prolonged bidding, hammering down at $8,134,650 and $6,928,200 respectively, above their high estimates of $4-6 million. Coming from the esteemed collection of the late Enrico Navarra, gallerist and editor of the celebrated monograph on the artist, the works each feature examples of Basquiat’s most iconic motifs and represent his radical multi-media approach to artmaking.