NEW YORK—Sotheby’s midseason sale of Impressionist and modern art on Feb. 12 realized $3.5million for 234 lots, with a solid sell-through rate of 74 percent. By value the auction was 82 percent sold. Christie’s sale on Feb. 11 took in $1.8million, with 105, or 77 percent, of 137 lots sold. By value the auction was 81 percent sold.
At Sotheby’s the top lot was Auguste Rodin’s sculpture Celle qui fut la belle heaulmière, conceived circa 1885–87 and cast in 1957. The work sold for $170,500, more than four times the $40,000 high estimate, to a U.K. dealer. The second-highest price was Maurice Vlaminck’s oil painting Fleurs dans un vase blanc, which surpassed its $50,000/70,000 estimate to sell for $92,500 to a European collector.
“We are still adjusting our estimating to the new realities of the market,” said specialist Jennifer Roth, who added that “we were encouraged by the level of participation from many parts of the world. While Europeans dominated the buying, Americans were competitive bidders.”
A painting by Vlaminck was also a top earner at Christie’s, with Bouquet de fleurs selling for $194,500, well above the $40,000/60,000 estimate. Jean-Pierre Cassigneul’s oil painting Femme nu was sold for $188,500 (estimate: $50,000/70,000).
Stefany Sekara, head of the sale, said that “exceptional works with attractive estimates yielded the strongest prices, with competitive bidding from an international pool of buyers.”