A night of record breakers at Sotheby’s

Following on from a very strong Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale at Christie’s on 28th February, last night on (1st March 2017) the evening Sale at Sotheby’s for Impressionist & Modern Art was the one to watch.

It was a master-class in how an auction house is rising to the challenge and meeting the art market’s rampant demand for major blue-chip works.

Helena Newman the auctioneer for the evening, also the Global co-head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department and Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe deftly moved the bidders along, as for nearly each of the artworks up for sale there were several bidders actively competing for the works.

The highlight work for this season of sales, was the Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt’s landscape painting called ‘Bauerngarten’ (Flower Garden), I mentioned in my article see here.

As the most important work by Klimt, to come to public auction, it did not disappoint and broke auction records.

This exceptional oil on canvas painting depicting an “informal profusion of poppies, daisies and roses” has become the third most expensive artwork ever sold in Europe, after fetching a record price of £47,971,250 ($59,321,248).

This painting follows Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Walking Man’ (£65,001,250 in 2010) and Peter Paul Rubens’ ‘The Massacre Of The Innocents’ (£49,506,648 in 2002) in the list of the top three most expensive works sold in Europe.

The line up of stellar artworks continued with some fantastic works by Pablo Picasso.

Another world record was broken as fierce bidding took place for Picasso’s ‘Plant de tomates’, which quickly rose above the estimate of between £10 Million to £15 million and surpassed expectations when it sold for £17 million, becoming a record still-life sale for this Artist’s work.

Eight works by Picasso reached a combined total of £54.7 million, with three works selling over £10 million.

This is an indication of the import of the works in this sale as these were high value works by this exceedingly popular Master.

Other high points in sale for me, was watching the bidding for Amedeo Modigliani’s Portrait of Baranowski, this work sold for £16,021,250.

Also Paul Gauguin’s very beautiful ‘Te Arii Vahine – La Femme aux mangos’ (The Woman With the Mangoes) sold at £8,371,250 within the estimate of £7 million to £10 million.

Sotheby’s had an exceptional night and broke their own sales performance records by making £194.8 million in sales ($240.8 million).

As I mentioned yesterday, for anyone who has doubts about the art market, if these last two important sales of this season are anything to go by, the London art trade and market as a whole is thriving.

Whilst the Impressionist and Modern sales continue over the next few days, the market will now look ahead to The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, the world’s leading fair for antique and modern artworks.

We will now all look forward to seeing how the rest of the trade – the galleries and dealers perform.  At the symposium at TEFAF, the Fair will reveal its annual market report and its predictions of market-trends which is hugely informative data for the art market. We will bring you more information about this in due course.

At Vitruvian Arts Consultancy Ltd our independent art advisers have expertise across specific artistic fields and can help clients determine whether to buy or sell art through auction, private treaty or privately. For more details about our services visit www.vitruvianartsconsultancy.com.

For my review of the extremely impressive Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale on 28th March see here.


One of the best Klimt landscape paintings hits the auction block tonight

Following on from an extremely impressive first evening of the Impressionist and Modern Art Sales last night (28th February 2017) at Christie’s (to read my article about this sale – click here) now all eyes are on an extremely important work by world renowned Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt.

The work in question is an elegant and picturesque garden scene entitled ‘Bauerngarten’ which, according to Sotheby’s is one of the most important works by Klimt to come to public auction. Most of Klimt’s works are in museum collections and have remained in museum collections.

This work was painted during Klimt’s best artistic periods (the same time as his masterpiece Portrait of Adele Bloch-BauerI), its quality is extraordinary and therefore there is little surprise that this work has a pre-sale estimate price tag of $45 million.

In an article on the sale of this piece, Artnet sighted Sotheby’s Helena Newman’s praise of the work, where she attests the work is… “innovative in its composition and jewel-like in its exquisite blaze of colors, it is one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces ever to come to auction. Most of the artist’s oil paintings of this calibre are in major museums around the world with only a handful works of this importance having appeared at auction in the last decade.”

The work displays a rich tapestry of flowers, draped across the centre field of the painting like a stunning cloak that could be worn. The work is incredibly delicately painted and, despite not including any of Klimt’s iconic figures, remains totally captivating. Bright colours painted in a combination of short dashes and more solid looking circles seem to almost dance across the surface of this energetic canvas.

Certainly, all eyes will be fixed on the sale of this masterpiece when it eventually goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s evening auction on 1st March 2017.

Sotheby’s auction tonight promises to be exciting as a smaller selection of high quality works are likely to draw in the bidders.

What we are seeing is a consistent demand for very good quality artworks by the world’s most recognised artists and the auction houses are meeting this demand.

At Vitruvian Arts Consultancy, we help clients buy and sell art privately, through private treaty and through auction. We work with specialist art consultants with expertise in specific art fields and provide independent advice and assistance for buying art and selling art.

We can help facilitate and manage an entire sales process. We help collectors build art collections and provide training and support for budding collectors. We are transparent in our fee structures and have a protocol and service for our clients to ensure professional due diligence pre-sales, through the art due diligence group www.artduediligencegroup.com. For more information about our services click here.  For a free consultation please call us on +44 (0) 207 084 6312.