PARIS—Sotheby’s 51-lot evening sale of Impressionist and modern art on July 2 totaled E11.5 million ($18.2 million), the firm’s most lucrative sale in this category to date in continental Europe—highlighting “the continued rise of Paris as a global selling center,” in the words of vice president and head of Impressionist and modern art, Andrew Strauss. Although the sell-through rates were moderate—the auction was 69 percent sold by lot, 77 percent by value—40 percent of the lots on offer cleared their top estimates. Works by Amedeo Modigliani, Alfred Sisley and Odilon Redon, on the other hand, each expected to clear $1 million, were the chief failures.
Pablo Picasso’s 1963 Nu assis dans un fauteuil (estimate: E1.6 million/2.2 million) led the auction, selling to a European private buyer for E2.75 mil¬lion ($4.35 million), followed by Theo Van Rysselberghe’s Pointillist Portrait d’Auguste Weber, consigned by an American collector, which sold within estimate to a European dealer for E900,750 ($1.42 million).
The sale featured two small collections of Impressionist works. Six lots came from the Wetzlar Collection, Netherlands, led by Claude Monet’s L’Hiver, près de Lavacourt, 1880, which sold for E744,750 ($1.2 million) to a Russian buyer. Four lots were from an unidentified Swiss collection, sold to benefit a charity, and led by an Edgar Degas bronze, Danseuse, Position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, première étude, which sold to an American collector for E420,750 ($664,200). Another noteworthy price for a sculpture was the E504,750 ($796,800) paid by a European dealer for Julio González’s L’Arlequin/Pierrot ou Columbine, a later bronze cast by C. Valsuani, in an edition of four, of a work first executed in iron in 1930.
Six works once owned by former French president Georges Pompidou (1911–1974), were offered for auction following the death of his wife, Claude, last year. Five sold, led by the oil-on-board Composition, 1947, by Francis Picabia, which sold for a mid-estimate E300,750 ($474,217).