20 Impressive Auction Results for Los Angeles Consignors

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Home to countless artists, entertainers and passionate collectors Los Angeles is one of Sotheby’s most vital business centres. Our globally connected specialists provide Southern California clients with valuation services in every collecting category, consigning masterworks by Monet, Picasso and Twombly as well as diamonds by Bulgari and Tiffany glass. Click ahead to read the stories behind 20 show-stopping works with Los Angeles provenance that have attained remarkable sale results – including the most expensive object sold by Sotheby’s worldwide in 2015. 

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20 Impressive Auction Results for Los Angeles Consignors

  • Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City). Sold for $70,530,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    This painting by Twombly, the most expensive work sold at Sotheby's worldwide in 2015, hailed from the collection of Los Angeles patrons Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Irmas. Unrivalled for its scale and ambition, this 1968 Blackboard painting remained in the Irmas collection for a quarter-century, prior to which it belonged to two other distinguished collections: the Saatchi Collection in London and the Collection of Fred Mueller, an illustrious fixture in the New York art world of the 1960s. Realising more than $70 million, the work was sold to benefit the Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice and its funding of a new events centre at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.  

  • Claude Monet, Le Palais Ducal. Sold for $23,098,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    This masterwork represents not only the splendour of Venice and the peak of Monet's artistic achievement but also the story of the Goldschmidt's quest to recover their lost legacy. A German-Jewish banker with a renowned art collection, Jacob Goldschmidt fought tirelessly to have this work returned to his family after being stolen by the Nazis, and thanks to Goldschmidt’s son, it was restituted to the family in 1960. Goldschmidt’s late grandson, the noted graphic designer Anthony Goldschmidt, brought this work to Sotheby’s, where it achieved more than $20 million in May 2015. 

  • Platinum and diamond ring, Bulgari. Sold for $820,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    This diamond ring , which exceeded its high estimate during Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in December 2015, features a Type IIa, D-colour round diamond weighing 10.14 carats.  

  • Pablo Picasso, Femme au chignon dans un fauteuil. Sold for $29,930,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    From the Goldwyn Collection, assembled by Hollywood legends Samuel Goldwyn, Sr. (the “G” in MGM) and Sam Goldwyn, Jr., Pablo Picasso’s Femme au chignon dans un fauteuil  shattered its estimate. Part of the Goldwyn Collection since 1956, this portrait of Picasso’s lover Françoise Gilot won the heart of another movie mogul: Wang Zhongjun. “I first fell in love with the painting and then I fell in love with its story,” the Chinese collector said. “The Goldwyn family is legendary in our industry and in this one work, I can see not only Pablo Picasso’s genius, but also Samuel Goldwyn Sr.’s creative vision.”  

  • David Hockney, Fruit in a Chinese Bowl. Sold for $1,930,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    For more than two generations, the Goldwyn dynasty brought the same fearlessness and exquisite eye to the collecting of pictures as they did to making motion pictures. Goldwyn Collection works were among the most significant lots in both the Contemporary and Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sales in New York in May 2015, and also appeared in several other Sotheby’s auctions. Executed in 1988, the year Hockney’s critically acclaimed retrospective opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and later travelled to the Metropolitan in New York and London’s Tate, Fruit in a Chinese Bowl epitomises the artist’s exploration of the flattened composition. 

  • Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Into and Behind the Green Eyes of the Tiger Monkey Face 43.18). Sold for $6,522,000 at Sotheby's New York.
    From the very beginning, artists have been at the centre of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles: Sam Francis and Robert Irwin were among its founders in 1979. Sotheby’s May 2015 contemporary auctions in New York featured more than 20 works, including the Grotjahn  shown here, donated by leading artists to benefit MOCA. Ahead of the sale, Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills held a public preview of Artists for MOCA, which included pieces by John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha and many more. Intense competition drove the overall total of the MOCA sale to $22,507,000, well above its high estimate.  
  • Andrew Wyeth, Flood Plain. Sold for $5,178,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston was a great admirer of Wyeth's work. “Be dazzled, if you will, by what he does with his brushes,” said Heston. “But look for what he puts beneath. Look for the mystery.” In 2015, Sotheby’s offered three works from the collection of Charlton and Lydia Heston, including the painting above, which more than doubled its low estimate.  

  • Robert Frank, ‘Hoboken’ (Parade). Sold for $237,500 at Sotheby’s New York.
    Acclaimed as one of the most important and influential photographic books of the 20th century, Robert Frank’s The Americans resulted from his project to photograph the United States with the support of two successive Guggenheim Fellowships in 1955 and 1956. In December 2015, Sotheby’s presented Robert Frank: The Americans, The Ruth and Jake Bloom Collection, which included 77 of the 83 pictures reproduced in Frank’s 1959 book. Thanks to the Los Angeles-based collectors’ extraordinary group of photos, including the above image of Hoboken , the sale achieved a robust total of more than $3 million.   

  • ‘The Simpsons’ Jacket, circa 1990. Sold for $1,125 online.
    In a dedicated online sale in October 2015 and other auctions, Sotheby's offered memorabilia and art from the personal collection of creative genius and television legend Samuel "Sam" Simon (1955–2015) to benefit the Sam Simon Charitable Giving Foundation, which supports animal welfare programmes, poverty alleviation and disaster relief organisations. Among the lots were personal illustrations and comics, including one of Simon’s comic strips in the Beverly Hills High School newspaper, pinball machines, boxing championship belts and The Simpsons-themed apparel .  

  • Norman Rockwell, Cheerleaders (Losing the Game). Sold for $4,506,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    Coming to Sotheby's from a California collector, this Rockwell painting , which fetched more than $1 million above its high estimate, was shown on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on 16 February 1952, the same year the work was painted. By the early 1950s, Rockwell’s Post covers had achieved a pervasive level of popularity, yet the artist saw even greater levels of creativity and professional success as the decade progressed. He painted an astounding 41 covers for The Post during the 1950s – five in 1952 alone – and sought to portray imagery that was more explicitly American in character.  

  • Patek Philippe, a fine and rare yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with registers Ref. 130 MVT 863298 case 635236 made in 1943. Sold for $40,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    Property of a descendant of the original owner, who was a Brazil-based US foreign diplomat, this timepiece , Ref. 130, is an iconic vintage Patek Philippe chronograph. Its design was based on the classic Calatrava, Ref. 96, and it was the first chronograph wristwatch by the firm to bear a reference number. Production began in 1934, and due to its classic shape and timeless appeal, it was made for three decades.  
  • Christopher Wool, Untitled (Riot). Sold for $29,930,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    Having resided in the same private collection since it was first acquired from the Luhring Augustine Gallery in 1991, Untitled (Riot) is a monument to Wool’s singular output. The enamel-on-aluminum work, which could be interpreted as a rebellious edict that parallels the insurgency of Wool’s larger artistic practice, sold at Sotheby’s for $10 million above its high estimate.  

  • Classic Navajo Pictorial Man’s Wearing Blanket, Four Corners Area. Sold for $250,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    Sotheby’s May 2015 sale of American Indian Art was led by a Classic Navajo Pictorial Man's Wearing Blanket , shown above. From the Charles and Sharon Aberle Collection, which features early and exceptionally fine Navajo blankets, this particular lot sold for more than two times its high estimate.  
  • Theo Meier, Barong Dance. Sold for HK$2,240,000 ($288,915) at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
    Signed as a dedication to Princess Christine Rangsit and dated 1976, this painting achieved more than three times its high estimate. A keen admirer of Paul Gauguin, Theo Meier sought to emulate his artistic hero’s nomadic spirit by travelling to the places that Gauguin visited and recreating those worlds within the narratives of his own paintings. Barong Dance , a classic piece featuring Meier’s favoured colours and subject matter, provides a glimpse into the artist’s imagination of how the island of Bali appeared to him: as a myth, as  fiction, and subsequently as his own Eden.   

  • Pablo Picasso, Service Visage Noir (A.R. 35-47). Estimate £30,000–40,000 ($44,274–59,032). Sold for £93,750 ($138,356) at Sotheby's London.
    Comprised of one dish and twelve plates from 1948, this ceramic set came from an edition of 100, each inscribed ‘Pour Catherine et Jean Louis’, the dish dated ‘19.2.1965.’ In March 2015, the lot sold for more than double its high estimate.  

  • David Hockney, Green Tide. Sold for £2,165,000 ($3,298,811) at Sotheby’s London.
    Across two conjoined landscape panels, Hockney creates a compelling and unified composition in the 1989 work Green Tide . “At one side of my house in Malibu is the Pacific Coast Highway; at the other is the beach,” Hockney said of his studio just outside Los Angeles, where the above work was created. “I step out of my kitchen door and there, right there, is the sea. So when I am painting in my studio I am very aware of nature, in its infinity, and of the sea endlessly moving.” (Hockney quoted in Nikos Stangos, Ed., David Hockney: That’s The Way I See It, London 1993, p. 196).   

  • Tiffany Studios, “Dragonfly” floor lamp. Sold for $162,500 at Sotheby’s New York.
    From a prestigious Californian collection, this circa 1910 Tiffany lamp is composed of leaded glass and patinated bronze. It sold in our March 2016 Design sale in New York for more than double its low estimate.   

  • A fine sedimentary stone stele depicting scenes from the life of Buddha, Eastern India, Pala period, 11th/12th Century. Sold for $346,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
    This exquisite stele , sold in Sotheby’s March 2016 auction of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art, is one of a small group of miniature sculptures carved during the Pala period (8th–12th Century) in eastern India. Probably made in part as a pilgrim’s sacred memento, it sold for more than double its high estimate.   
  • Platinum, gold, diamond and fancy vivid yellow diamond necklace. Sold for $218,750 at Sotheby’s New York.
    This delicate link necklace centres a bow, suspending one pear-shaped Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond weighing 3.61 carats and one pear-shaped diamond weighing 3.23 carats. Dated circa 1915, the jewel exceeded its high estimate when selling in April 2016.    

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