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Imp/Mod Sale Signals Broad Demand for Modern Masters

Christie’s midmarket sale of Impressionist and modern art in New York on Sept. 21 took in a total of $2.1 million, bettering the estimate of over $1.5 million.

NEW YORK—Christie’s midmarket sale of Impressionist and modern art in New York on Sept. 21 took in a total of $2.1 million, bettering the estimate of over $1.5 million. Of 192 lots offered, 151, or 79 percent, were sold. By value the sale realized 89 percent.

The top lot was an oil by Maria-Mela Muter (1886–1967), Fishing Port in Saint-Tropez, ca. 1921, which was estimated at $40,000/60,000 and realized $88,900 with premium. It was followed by an oil by Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, a mainstay of these midseason Impressionist sales in recent years. Entitled L’Orage, and estimated at $60,000/80,000, the work sold for $86,500 to a private European collector. Another Cassigneul work, Femme au bord de la mer, 1968, was also among the top lots, selling for $68,500 against a $50,000/70,000 estimate to a U.S. collector.

A U.K.-based dealer acquired Le jardin de Monet à Giverny, 1928, an oil by Blanche Hoschede-Monet, daughter-in-law of Claude Monet. The painting sold for $74,500 (estimate: $35,000/45,000). Vase de fleurs, 1965, an oil by Bernard Buffet, took $62,500, well above the $30,000/40,000 estimate. Composition abstraite en gris et rose, ca. 1956, a rare abstract oil on canvasboard by Tamara de Lempicka, more than tripled its $12,000/16,000 estimate to sell for $60,000.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art acquired a drawing by Andre Derain, paying $50,000 for the pencil on paper Nu, 1907 (estimate: $4,000/6,000), which set a new auction record for a pencil drawing by the artist.

Jessica Fertig, head of sale, said, “Works by the leading masters of the modern movement performed well across the board today. There was particular interest from bidders in a group of inscribed works on paper by Picasso, Miró and Chagall. . . . Both trade and private collectors from Europe and the United States were active in the sale.”

Picasso’s Dedication à Manuel Pallarès, colored wax crayons and brush and black ink on paper, 1959, sold for $47,500 (estimate: $20,000/30,000). A study by Edgar Degas, Etude pour La programme de la Soirée artistique du 15 mai 1884 (Galerie Ponsin), charcoal on tracing paper, laid down on paper, sold for $47,500, far higher than the $12,000/18,000 estimate, to an American dealer.

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