NEW YORK—Sotheby’s and Christie’s scored strong results and several records with large troves of prints at auctions held from Oct. 27-29 and Oct. 31-Nov. 1, respectively. Sotheby’s earned $10.4 million, selling 664, or 79 percent, of 840 works on offer, while Christie’s posted $10.1 million and sold 551, or 87 percent, of the 637 lots offered.
Sotheby’s saw a mix of American and European buyers. The top lot was Elsa Dite à Viennoise, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, which fetched $352,000 (estimate: $200,000/300,000). Five works by Pablo Picasso brought some of the top prices, the best of which was $273,600 (estimate: $120,000/160,000) for Buste de femme au chapeau, which went to a private American buyer. Brice Marden’s Cold Mountain Series, Zen Studies 1-6, sold for $156,000 (estimate: $150,000/200,000).
At Christie’s a world auction record was set for a graphic work by Cy Twombly when Roman Notes (Bastian 21-6), 1970, fell for $245,600 (estimate: $90,000/120,000). The $240,000 price for Richard Diebenkorn’s Green, 1986 (estimate: $100,000/150,000), was also a print record for the artist, Christie’s said.
Target, 1974, by Jasper Johns, realized an over-estimate $216,000 (estimate: $80,000/120,000). Says Christie’s print specialist Kelly Troester: “We are seeing extremely high prices for specific artists, such as Diebenkorn and Johns, for key images, with private collectors and dealers alike competing for the same piece.”