Claude Monet’s Iris mauves, 1914-17, led the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in London, selling for £10,834,500 / $17,118,510 /€15,179,135 (estimate: £6-9 million, all sold prices include buyer’s premium) after four minutes of head to head bidding. The work dates from the artist’s first concerted campaign of work on the most ambitious undertaking of his career: the Grandes decorations.
The sale realised £71,461,000 /$112,908,380 /€100,116,861 in total, with strong sell-through rates of 84 per cent by lot and 92 per cent by value. Bidders from 32 countries across five continents competed in the room and on the telephone for works by the trailblazers of the category, including Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. In total, 24 works of art sold for over £1 million, and 29 for over $1 million.
Claude Monet (1840-1926), Iris mauves, 1914-17. Oil on canvas. 78 7/8 x 39 ½ in. (200.5 x 100.5 cm.) Sold for £10,834,500
Among the highlights were Tête by Pablo Picasso. Painted on 14 December 1969, this youthful masculine portrait — an alter ego of the artist’s late work — was included in the last major lifetime exhibition of Picasso’s work, held in May-October 1970 at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, and sold on the night for £4,450,500 /$7,031,790 /€6,235,151 (estimate: £4.8-6.5 million).
Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), Anita en almée, 1908. Oil on canvas. 76 ¾ x 44 ¾ in. (194.9 x 113.7 cm.)
Sold for £4,114,500
A highly charged, sensuous celebration of the Parisian demi-monde in the first decade of the 20th century, Anita en almée by Kees van Dongen, 1908, sold for £4,114,500 /$6,500,910 /€5,764,415 (estimate: £4-7 million).
Joan Miró (1893-1983), La tige de la fleur rouge pousse vers la lune (The Stem of the Red Flower Grows Toward the Moon), 1952. Sold for £3,778,500.
La tige de la fleur rouge pousse vers la lune (The Stem of the Red Flower Grows Toward the Moon) by Joan Miró (1893-1983), painted in 1952, a pivotal year in the artist’s oeuvre when he created some of his most revolutionary and acclaimed pictures, sold for £3,778,500 /$5,970,030 /€5,293,679 (estimate: £3.5-4.5 million).
Paul Signac (1863-1935), Marseille, le port, 1934. Oil on canvas. 28 ¾ x 36 ¼ in. (73 x 92 cm.) Sold for £3,666,500
Marseille, le port, 1934, by Paul Signac realised £3,666,500 /$5,793,070 /€5,136,767 (estimate: £2-3 million). Depicting one of Signac’s favourite subjects, a maritime scene, this is an exuberant painting that bursts with radiant light and movement, capturing the bustling port of Marseille.
Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Bouquet près de la fenêtre, 1959-60. Oil on canvas. 47 ¼ x 59 in. (120 x 149.8 cm.) Sold for £3,218,500
Bouquet près de la fenêtre by Marc Chagall, painted from 1959 to 1960, realised £3,218,500 /$5,085,230 /€4,509,119 (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million). This monumental work has been identified as one of the finest flower paintings of this period by the author of the artist’s definitive biography and catalogue raisonné, Franz Meyer.
‘Once again, this auction attracted global participation from bidders around the world, further evidencing the deep international demand for the category witnessed in our New York Sales in May,’ said Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of The Impressionist & Modern Art Department, Christie’s London. ‘This resulted in strong prices across the full breadth of the category, from the birth of Impressionism — illustrated by the rare 1872 work by Alfred Sisley — to the energy of the late 1969 portrait by Pablo Picasso.’
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