NEW YORK—Sotheby’s sale of Israeli and international art in New York on Dec. 14, achieved a total of $5.5 million, up from the $3.5 million achieved last year and for a smaller offering of lots this time. Of 80 lots (compared with over 110 offered at last year’s auction), 63, or 79 percent were sold. By value, the sale was 97 percent sold.
Works by Marc Chagall led the sale, including the three highest lots which depicted large, rare synagogue interiors from 1931 and 1935. All were part of a group of paintings listed as property of the Lillian and Jack Cottin collection, New York, which the paintings have been part of since 1945.
The highest price, paid by a private collector, was $872,500 for Chagall’s painting titled Interior of the Yemenite HaGoral Synagogue, Jerusalem, 1931, compared with an estimate of $400,000/600,000. It was followed by $758,500 given for Chagall’s Synagogue in Vilna, the “Kloyz” of the Vilna Gaon, 1935, which was estimated at $300,000/500,000. And Interior Of The Ashkenazi Ha’Ari Synagogue, Safed, 1931, sold for $734,500, compared with an estimate of $300,000/500,000, to a private U.S. collector.
Mordechai Ardon’s Notes and Letters, 1980, an oil on canvas offered from a different private collection, sold for $386,500, clearing the $200,000/300,000 estimate.
Demand was also robust for works by Reuven Rubin, including five of the ten-highest lots: Galloping Horses, 1971, which sold for $302,500 (estimate: $180,000/220,000) to a collector from New England; The Drummer of Meron, ca. 1929, which sold for $278,500 to a private European buyer against an estimate of $200,000/300,000; and The Green Bouquet, 1968, which was bought by a private Israeli collector for $200,500 on an estimate of $100,000/150,000. Sotheby’s said international dealers acquired the remaining Rubin pieces: Springtime in Galilee, ca. late 1950s, which sold for $158,500 (estimate: $70,000/90,000); and Springtime, 1946, which sold for $122,500 (estimate: $70,000/90,000).