After 10 minutes of intense bidding from six international collectors, Piet Mondrian’s Composition No. III (Composition with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black), 1929, a work that represents the culmination of his achievement in abstract and non-objective art, finally sold for $50,565,000 (£32,125,159/€44,429,095), setting a world auction record for the artist and leading the Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York (view full results).
Results: Rothko leads the way / Records tumble in New York
Bidders from 34 countries competed in the room and on the phone for works by Impressionist and Modern masters, including Mondrian, Chaïm Soutine, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani and Fernand Léger, in a sale that realised $202,608,000 (£128,721,728/€178,022,150) with sell-through rates of 93 per cent by lot and 99 per cent by value.
Auctioneer, International Director, Andreas Rumbler auctions Piet Mondrian’s (1872-1944), Composition No. III, with Red, Blue, Yellow, and Black, 1929, which sold for $50,565,000 (total is hammer price plus buyer’s premium)
‘This sale marks a record setting week for the global auction market,’ said Brooke Lampley, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Americas, ‘with the highest total ever achieved in one week for the Impressionist & Modern category, at $695,478,000 thus far. The success of tonight’s sale is the result of presenting a carefully edited grouping of works to the marketplace. In constructing the evening sale we strategically selected the best examples from the market’s most sought after artists. This culminated in 44 per cent of the works selling over their estimate, including tremendous results for Mondrian, Léger, Modigliani, Soutine and Kandinsky.’
Claude Monet (1840-1926), Les meules à Giverny, 1885 (read feature). Sold for: $16,405,000
The sale was anchored by Property from the John C. Whitehead Collection, the former Chairman of Goldman Sachs. The selection of 22 lots offered in the Evening Sale realised $58,439,000, against its low estimate of $32.2 million. The group was led by Amedeo Modigliani’s Portrait de Béatrice Hastings (1916) which realised $16,069,000 as the opening lot in the sale. Another highlight was Chaïm Soutine’s La Communiante (La Mariee) (circa 1924), which witnessed fierce competition before finally selling to a buyer in the room for $15,621,000, a figure five times its low estimate.
‘We are very pleased with the results thus far on behalf of the Estate,’ remarked Conor Jordan, International Director, Impressionist and Modern Art. ‘Much of the funds raised through the sales will go to the many charitable organisations John Whitehead supported and was involved with during his lifetime.’
Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait de Béatrice Hastings, 1916. Oil on canvas. Sold for: $16,069,000
Other standout results on the night included Fernand Léger’s Le corsage rouge (1922), which soared past its high estimate to sell for $16,069,000; Claude Monet’s Les Meules à Giverny, 1885, which made its first appearance at auction and achieved $16,405,000; Trois danseuses (circa 1900) by Edgar Degas (read feature), which realised $11,925,000, almost $4 million above its high estimate; and Wassily Kandinsky’s Entwurf zu ‘Improvisation mit rotblauem Ring’, 1913, which inspired competitive bidding from seven clients before being hammered down for $4,533,00, four times its estimate.
The second world auction record for an artist was set when La Cuisinière (1893) by Maurice Denis sold for $2,629,000, more than three times its high estimate and almost $2 million more than the previous record, set at Christie’s New York in 2005.
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