Shimmering Monet, unique Schiele, meditative Kandinsky, transparent Picabia: Impressionist and Modern Art sales in London
Claude MonetLe Palais Ducal (1908)
Sold for $36.2 million — Auction Record for a Venice View
Top lot became Monet's shimmering view of the spectacular Doge’s Palace. This artwork has been in the same family collection since it was acquired in 1926, and has never been at auction before. It was estimated to sell for £20 million to £30 million ($26.1 million to $39.1 million), making it a significant part of the house’s total sales.
Half of Monet’s Venetian views are in museum collections, and though not quite as breathtaking as many of those, this one has been sold for the highest price for a Venetian painting yet.
Egon SchieleTriestiner Fischerboot (1912)
Sold for $14,2 million
The second lot is an atypical for artist boat painting, offered at auction also for the first time. Having been in a private collection since 1962, Triestiner Fischerboot holds a unique position in Schiele's oeuvre, as the artist transforms a simple fishing boat into an avant-garde pictorial marvel. The square-format painting sailed to an above-estimate $14 million, with strong interest from Asia.
Meanwhile, Camille Pissarro‘s romantic painting of a young girl in a flower garden was contested by a bidder from Japan before selling to someone in Taiwan for £1.7 million.
Wassily Kandinsky"Vertiefte Regung (Deepened Impulse)"
Sold for $8,1 million
The third top lot was 1928 abstract oil painting by Wassily Kandinsky, acquired in November 2015 by the Nahmad family of art dealers for $6.4 million. Now back with a £5.5−7.5 million estimate ($7,2−9.8 million), was sold for £6.1 million ($8.1 million).
One more exciting artist, who is arguably associated with the Bauhaus style, is Oscar Schlemmer. His rare and great work of that period "Tischgesellschaft" became a highlight in this section, being sold for a hammer price £2.6 million ($3.4 million), including the buyer’s premium.
He is credited with continuously reinventing the figurative tradition of western art and his striking painting Tischgesellschaft (Group at Table), depicts figures in perspectival space rendered in geometric shapes, and is considered to be extremely rare.
Left: Oskar Schlemmer’s Tischgesellschaft (Group at Table), which has an estimate of £1m-1.5m. Photograph: Courtesy of Sotheby’s
René MagritteL’Etoile du matin (1938)
Sold for £4.5m (£5.3m with fees)
Surrealist art evening sale was led by Magritte's a double portrait of the artists’s wife Georgette juxtaposed with a Native American, which made its first appearance at auction. It was bought in 1939 by a Belgian couple and had remained in the same collection ever since (for 80 years!).
Painted during one of Magritte’s most innovative periods, when he produced some of his most important works, including the record-breaking Le principe du Plaisir, L'Étoile du Matin sold for for a top-estimate £5.3 mln ($7 million) to a bidder on the phone with Benjamin Doller, Christie’s chairman of the Americas.
The painting had been with the same family since it was bought in Paris in 1974 for 108,000 Francs (£10,800). Large-scale oil and pencil artwork at auction for the first time and attracted seven bidders, many from Asia, before selling for a double estimate £3.7 million ($4.9 million). It was also a record for a Picabia’s Transparencies series from the 1920s and 30s.
Théo van Rysselberghe’s
À l’ombre des pins (1905)
Sold for $1.3 million
Effortlessly conveying the blissful light and colours of the Mediterranean seaside, this vibrant painting by Van Rysselberghe met with a flurry of bids to sell for over $1 million, doubling its pre-sale estimate and leading the Day Sale. The bucolic work showcases a harmonious combination of the landscape, which dominated the artist’s earlier work, with the female nude, a motif he passionately began to undertake around the turn of the century, inspired by the work of Botticelli.