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

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