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Auctionata Bets Monet Seller That It Can Outperform Amazon, With Proceeds Going to Charity

The painting and Auctionata co-founder Alexander Zacke.AUCTIONATA

The painting and Auctionata co-founder Alexander Zacke.

AUCTIONATA

Auctionata’s “Fine Arts Week” online art auctions, which offer Old Master and 19th-century paintings as well as Impressionist, modern, and contemporary works, seem to be off to a fine start. On June 20, the company set a new record for its sales, moving an enamel, ivory-mounted, and paste-set Chinese musical and automaton clock from the late 18th century, for €3.37 million (about $3.77 million), to Chinese businessman and investor Liu Yiqian, who has appeared on the ARTnews 200 Top Collectors list since 2012.

Tomorrow, June 24, will be devoted to work by modern figures, like Georges Grosz, Paul Klee, and Claude Monet, whose lot includes an entertaining little side bet, a video on Auctionata’s site reveals.

The work in question, L’Enfant à la tasse, portrait de Jean Monet (1868), is a portrait of the artist’s three-year-old son Jean—who looks, well, rather brutish, which is perhaps why the painting had no takers during a 2013 Amazon Fine Art sale, where it was listed for $1,450,000.

Auctionata will be starting the painting’s at a more budget-friendly €200,000 (about $224,000). But here’s the exciting thing. In a video on Auctionata’s website, its co-founder, Alexander Zacke, says that he has entered into a bet with the family that is selling the painting: if Auctionata beats Amazon’s initial price—and Zacke thinks they will—any commission above it will be given to charity.

The auction will commence on Wednesday, June 24, at 6 p.m. Berlin time, which is noon in New York.

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