Paul Cézanne - Les Pommes

Paul Cézanne
Les Pommes
Estimate $25/35 million
Sold for $41,605,000 at Sotheby's

Cézanne leads Impressionist and Modern Art auctions

Paul Cézanne's 'Les pommes' ($41,6 million) topped Sotheby's $230 million sale. Chaïm Soutine's 'Le petit pâtissier' was sold for $18 million (auction record for the artist) at Christie's.

May 9, 2013, source: Sotheby's / Christie's

The Evening sale at Sotheby's opened with a selection of works from the Collection of Alex & Elisabeth Lewyt, which totaled an impressive $88.6 million – in excess of their $84.7 million high estimate. The group was led by Paul Cézanne’s "Les pommes" from 1889-90, which topped the auction with $41,605,000 (est. $25/35 million). Multiple bidders competed for the piece, as well as for Amedeo Modigliani’s famed portrait "L’Amazon", which drove that picture to $25,925,000 (est. $20/30 million).

Sculpture proved in demand throughout the evening: all but one of the 12 examples on offer found buyers, together totaling $39.1 million. The selection was led by an exceptional lifetime cast of Auguste Rodin’s "Le Penseur" from his masterpiece "The Gates of Hell", which sold for $15,285,000 after a prolonged battle in the room (est. $8/12 million). This represents the highest price ever paid at auction for a cast of this iconic figure, surpassing the example that sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2010 for nearly $12 million. Also leading the sculpture on offer was Pablo Picasso’s sculpture of his young muse "Sylvette", which sold for $13,605,000 (est. $12/18 million).

Christie's auction was highlighted by "Le petit pâtissier", a 1927 work by Chaïm Soutine. The painting was sold for $18,043,750, establishing a new world auction record for the artist. Marc Chagall's "Les trois acrobats" (1926) sold for $13,003,750, well above its pre-sale estimate of $6-9 million. Egon Schiele's "Selbstbildnis mit Modell" was auctioned for $11,323,750 against a pre-sale estimate of $5-7 million. Joan Miró's "Peinture" (painted in April 1923) fetched $10,987,750.

One of the surprises of the auction was Amedeo Modigliani's "La Juive" (circa 1907-1908), sold for a remarkable $6,843,750 against a pre-sale estimate of just $2-3 million.

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