Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne: Nature morte aux fruits et pot de gingembre





Claude Monet

Claude Monet: La Plage à Trouville








Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh: A pair of shoes

Sotheby's auction of impressionist & modern Art, November 2006 totals $238.7 million

New York, NY- November 7, 2006 - Tonight at Sotheby's, key examples of Impressionist and Modern Art brought $238,670,000, the highest total for a sale in this category at Sotheby's since May 1990. The top price achieved this evening was for a stunning still-life by Paul Cézanne, which sold for $36,976,000. That price was closely followed by the $31,096,000 realized by Amedeo Modigliani's compelling Le Fils du Concierge , a work which elicited vigorous competition from two determined bidders before selling to a round of applause. Auction records were established this evening for Erich Heckel, Lynn Chadwick, Barbara Hepworth and for a work on paper by Édouard Vuillard. The evening sale had been estimated to total $219.6/299.8 million*.

"Tonight's sale demonstrated the tremendous strength of the market across the range of Impressionist and Modern art," said David Norman, Director of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Department . "Collectors recognize the quality and rarity of great works of art and are willing to break through the traditional categories, as evidenced by the incredible duel we saw for the spectacular male portrait by Modigliani. Despite the fact that it wasn't a female or a nude, collectors responded because it exemplified quality." Mr. Norman added, "The taste of today's collectors is moving toward a preference for works with strong coloration and bold composition as witnessed by the competition for the Kandinsky landscape, the female figure by Heckel and the portrait by Jawlensky."

The top lot of this evening's sale was a Nature morte aux fruits et pot de gingembre , a spectacular still-life by Paul Cézanne which sold for $36,976,000. This seminal work, which heralded the birth of Modernism, was sought-after by three different bidders who drove the price above the high estimate of $35 million and well above the $18.2 million achieved when it was last offered at auction in 2000.

There was an extended bidding battle for Amedeo Modigliani's Le Fils du Concierge from 1918, one of the artist's best known portraits of a child, which sold for a $31,096,000. This outstanding price echoes a similar strong result achieved for the artist at Sotheby's London earlier this year and stands just shy of the record for the artist at auction set by Sotheby's in 2004. The engaging qualities of the work together with its importance and illustrious provenance, having once belonged to Roger Dutilleul, Modigliani's great patron, drove the price well above the high estimate of $18 million.

Sculpture also brought strong prices. A rare example of Henri Matisse's Figure décorative, a work recognized by collectors, curators, and art historians as one of the greatest achievements of Modern art, sold for $12,896,000. Alberto Giacometti's Grande Femme Assise (Annette Assise), a bold depiction of the artist's wife, Annette Arm, from the Collection of Charles and Rose Wohlstetter, brought $4,272,000. The record for British sculptor Lynn Chadwick was broken twice this evening when Pair of Walking Figures: Jubilee, 1977, and Seated Couple, 1984, from The Vanthournout Collection sold for $1,472,000 and $1,864,000, respectively. Also from the Vanthournout Collection was Barbara Hepworth's Ultimate Form from her renowned Family of Man series which sold for $2,648,000, also a record for the artist at auction.

Among an offering of bold, graphic works by Pablo Picasso offered this evening was Le Fumeur, a work considered by many to be a veiled self-portrait of the artist, which sold for $10,656,000. Painted on June 6, 1953, around the time that Picasso's relationship with Françoise Gilot was coming to an end, the present work had been estimated to sell for $9/12 million.

A spectacular vista of Starnberger See ( Lake Starnberg ) by Wassily Kandinsky was the subject of spirited bidding this evening, finally selling to a bidder on the phone for $9,088,000. Painted during the artist's stay in Murnau in 1908, the present work is a synthesis of the explosive colors of Fauvism and presages the artist's move towards pure abstraction several years later. It had been estimated to sell for $6/8 million. Another powerful German Expressionist work was Erich Heckel's Akt ( Dresden ) (Nude-Dresden); Stilleben Mit Pflanzen (Still Life with Plants): a double sided painting, which surpassed a high estimate of $3.2 million to sell for $3,600,000, a record for the artist at auction.

Appearing at auction for the first time was Le Partie de cartes by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, which sold for $8,528,000. The present oil of two women playing a hand of cards is among the most well-known of these scenes which belongs to the great series of the artist's depictions of scenes from the maison closes or Parisian brothels. The fierce competition from three bidders, all determined to secure this important work, drove the final price above the high estimate of $7 million.

Leading off the sale was a stunning view of Paris by the Dutch Impressionist painter Johan Barthold Jonkind, Rue Notre Dame, Paris, which was purchased by the London dealer Richard Greene on behalf of the Rijksmuseum for $721,600. As many as four different bidders competed for the charming scene which had been estimated to sell for $250/350,000.

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