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Toulouse-Lautrec Leads At Spirited Print Sales

Sotheby’s and Christie’s scored strong results and several records with large troves of prints at auctions held from Oct. 27-29 and Oct. 31-Nov. 1, respectively. Sotheby’s earned $10.4 million, selling 664, or 79 percent, of 840 works on offer, while Christie’s posted $10.1 million and sold 551, or 87 percent, of the 637 lots offered.

NEW YORK—Sotheby’s and Christie’s scored strong results and several records with large troves of prints at auctions held from Oct. 27-29 and Oct. 31-Nov. 1, respectively. Sotheby’s earned $10.4 million, selling 664, or 79 percent, of 840 works on offer, while Christie’s posted $10.1 million and sold 551, or 87 percent, of the 637 lots offered.

Sotheby’s saw a mix of American and European buyers. The top lot was Elsa Dite à Viennoise, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, which fetched $352,000 (estimate: $200,000/300,000). Five works by Pablo Picasso brought some of the top prices, the best of which was $273,600 (estimate: $120,000/160,000) for Buste de femme au chapeau, which went to a private American buyer. Brice Marden’s Cold Mountain Series, Zen Studies 1-6, sold for $156,000 (estimate: $150,000/200,000).

At Christie’s a world auction record was set for a graphic work by Cy Twombly when Roman Notes (Bastian 21-6), 1970, fell for $245,600 (estimate: $90,000/120,000). The $240,000 price for Richard Diebenkorn’s Green, 1986 (estimate: $100,000/150,000), was also a print record for the artist, Christie’s said.

Target, 1974, by Jasper Johns, realized an over-estimate $216,000 (estimate: $80,000/120,000). Says Christie’s print specialist Kelly Troester: “We are seeing extremely high prices for specific artists, such as Diebenkorn and Johns, for key images, with private collectors and dealers alike competing for the same piece.”

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