THERE was a new world record for Kurt Schwitters at Christie’s in London tonight. The top price of £13,970,500 at the evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art was paid for Schwitters Ja-Was?-Bild (Yes-What?-Picture). It had been estimated at £4-6 million. The previous record for the artist was £1.3 million. The sale realised £85,784,000. It was sold 67% by lot and 71% by value. In total 22 works of art sold for over £1 million and 32 works made over $1 million. Femme de Venise by Giacometti made £9,042,500; L’artiste et le modele nu by Matisse made £6,802,500 and Kinderbild by Franz Marc sold for £6,242,500.
Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of The Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Christie’s London said: “This sale was led by the exceptional 1920 Kurt Schwitters, ‘Ja – Was? – Bild (‘Yes-What?-Picture’)’, which soared to extraordinary new heights achieving £13.9 million /$23.7 million / €17.4 million and smashing the previous auction record price for the artist (£1.3 million / $2 million). This work was part of the remarkable Langen Collection and follows on from the great success of the New York sales in May; the collection tonight achieved £20,335,000/ $34,610,170/ €25,418,750 against a pre-sale estimate of £9.6-14.1 million. The auction as a whole presented an eclectic mix of exciting and rare impressionist, avant-garde and modernist works, many of which had not been seen on the market in a generation or more. Discerning collectors competed in a selective market for rare works by Matisse, Marc and Giacometti. Surrealism continues to excite new and established collectors across geographies and strong prices were achieved for Magritte, Ernst and Miró.”
(See post on antiquesandartireland.com for June 5, 2014).