This evening in London, an auction at Christie’s divided into three sections—”Hidden Treasures: Impressionist & Modern Masterpieces from an Important Private Collection,” “Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale,” and “The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale”—resulted in a total sale of £165.7 million (about $219.5 million) with a solid 82 percent sell-through rate by lot.
Paul Cézanne’s Nature morte de pêches et poires (1885–87) was the top lot of the night, going for £21.2 million ($28.2 million). (All sales prices include buyer’s premium.)
The Cézanne was offered in the “Hidden Treasures” section, which saw a number of works fail to sell, including Claude Monet’s Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas (1916–19) and Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche (1885), which was estimated at £8 million to £12 million ($10.7 million–$16 million). Other passes included Claude Monet’s Iris (1924–25) and Kees van Dongen’s Madame veuve rose (1911–42).
The Impressionist and modern art section of the sale began with an Edgar Degas portrait of perhaps his most famed subject, ballerinas in studio. Titled Danseuses dans une salle d’exercice (Trois Danseuses) (1873), the work went for £4.18 million ($5.6 million), nearly quadrupling its high estimate of £1,200,000 ($1.1 million).
Other notable lots from that portion of the evening included Paul Signac’s 1892 painting Le Port au soleil couchant, Opus 236 (Saint-Tropez), which sold for £19.5 million ($25.9 million), and Gustave Caillebotte’s Chemin montant (1881), which went for
£16.6 million ($22 million.)
The final portion of the evening was devoted to Surrealist works, including three pieces by Magritte. Le lieu commun (1964), estimated at £15 million to £25 million, sold for £18.3 million ($21.2 million). Le pain quotidien (1942), estimated at £2 million to £3 million, sold for £3.3 million ($4.5 million). And La belle captive (1946) went for £2.1 million ($2.9 million).
The big-ticket evening auctions continue in London next week with 20th-century, postwar, and contemporary sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips.