New records at Impressionist and Modern Art sales in London
New auction records were set at the first art evening sales this year in London. P. Cézanne, P. Signac, R. Magritte got the highest prices and lead Christie’s Imp-Mod and Surrealist Evening Sale — $28.1 mln, $25.8 mln, and $24.3 mln respectively.
The Impressionist and modern art section of the sale began with an Edgar Degas portrait of perhaps his most famed subject, ballerinas in studio. Titled "Danseuses dans une salle d’exercice (Trois Danseuses)" (1873), the work went for £4.18 million ($5.6 million) against a low estimate of £800,000. It’s a small painting, depicted trio of ballet dancers rehearse their steps, illuminated by light flooding through the windows behind them.
Left: Edgar Degas. Danseuses dans une salle d’exercice (Three dancers at a dance class)", 1873.
The third auction of the evening was The Art of the Surrealism sale. Seven works by René Magritte were offered, including Le lieu commun, never previously offered at auction, the most important painting of a bowler-hatted man by the artist to come to market since 1998.
Monet and Cézanne have been market stalwarts for decades, but the Belgian Surrealist fond of painting men in bowler hats is having a bit of a moment. The work, which was painted in 1964, offers a unique vision of this wandering icon. It shows him both full-face and hidden behind a column in an ambiguous landscape; simultaneously appearing and disappearing.
"Le lieu commun", being in Asian private collections for decade, with estimation price between £15 million and £25 million ($19.6 million and $32.6 million), was sold for £18.3 million ($21.2 million), anticipating a new record for the artist.
Left: René Magritte. "Le lieu commun", 1964. Image courtesy of Christie’s.
Title illustation: Paul Signac’s Le Port au soleil couchant, Opus 236 (Saint-Tropez) (1892). Image courtesy of Christie’s.