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Matisse Portrait Goes for $80.8 M. at Christie’s Rockefeller Sale, Record for Artist at Auction

Henri Matisse’s Odalisque couchée aux magnolias (1923) sold for $80.8 million.


Tonight at Christie’s sale of 19th- and 20th-century works from the collection of the late Peggy and David Rockefeller, Henri Matisse’s Odalisque couchée aux magnolias (1923) went for $80.8 million, a record for a work by the artist at auction. The piece found a buyer after only about three minutes of bidding, as a handful of collectors vied for the work.

The piece had been estimated by the house to sell for at least $70 million; it hammered for $71.5 million. (The final price includes buyer’s premium.)

The record for a Matisse at auction was the $49 million paid at Christie’s New York in 2010 for a 1978 cast of one of his 1930 sculptures of a woman’s back. The previous record for a painting by the artist at auction was $40.9 million, which was set in 2009 at Christie’s in Paris when a 1911 painting by the French master was offered with a similar impressive provenance, coming from the collection Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. (Adjusting for inflation, that $40.9 million would be about about $48.1 million in current dollars.)

The Rockefellers had acquired the Matisse, which depicts one of his most frequent models of the period, the dancer and musician Henriette Darricarrère, in 1958 and held onto it ever since, displaying it in their Hudson Pines residence north of New York City. Now it is off to a new home.

Here’s a full report from the evening’s sale.

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