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    Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

    MAN RAY (1890–1976)
    Rayograph, 1928 ($150,000-250,000)

    More than 400 photographs from the Museum of Modern Art in New York are to be sold at Christie’s to benefit the acquisitions fund for the Department of Photography.Works offered include iconic photographs by many of the most well-known names from the early 20th century to the post-war period, including Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Man Ray, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans. The selection is led by two unique Rayograph works by Man Ray from 1923 and 1928 which are to be offered on October 10.

    The sale will start with four highlights on October 10.  A subsequent series of online auctions will be held in October, December and in January and April 2018.  The online sales are curated to encompass important themes including Pictorialism into Modernism, Women in Photography and several sales on individual photographers. Highlights will be previewed during exhibitions in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York starting in September 2017. Cataloguing and complete details of the sales will be available on in September.

    Darius Himes, International Head of Photographs, Christie’s said: “Christie’s is honored to offer for sale a selection of photographs from The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1940, the Museum became the first in the country to form a Department of Photography. Many of the artists represented in this series of live and online auctions will be deeply familiar to any student of photography, and are beloved on an international scale. These auctions represent a unique opportunity to support the Museum and own a piece of photographic history.”


    Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

    Beyond Boundaries: Avant-Garde Masterworks from a European Collection will come up at Christie’s during the second half of 2017 in New York, Geneva, and Paris. The collection is expected to achieve around $30,000,000 and comprises around 180 works from five categories: Impressionist and Modern Art, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Magnificent Jewels, African Art and Design. The Modern and Post-War works of art were assembled with the guidance of renowned advisor Alain Tarica, who also advised Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé as well as Hubertus and Renate Wald for their collections.  This collection is led by Wassily Kandinsky’s Improvisation mit Pferden (Studie für Improvisation 20) which is estimated between $10,000,000 and 15,000,000, and executed in 1911, the year Kandinsky realised the first abstract painting in history.

    Guillaume Cerutti, CEO of Christie’s said: “This collection is without doubt one of the greatest moments of the autumn season. Not only because this group of around 180 works, comprising design, modern art, jewellery and some African sculptures is of the highest quality and refinement, but also because this collection has a soul, a unique spirit. It is obvious that every object has been chosen with passion and with an extraordinary liberty by this couple of collectors. The result is a beautiful testimony for dialogue between arts and styles”.

    The images above displays, from left to right,  Wassily Kandinsky – Improvisation mit Pferden; Yves Klein – Monogold: Hemba Figure – Democratic Republic of Congo and Marc Newsom – Pod of Drawers.


    Sunday, July 16th, 2017

    Samuel Frederick Brocas (Dublin 1792-1847)
    The General Post Office and Nelson’s Pillar, Sackville Street, with the Dublin Lying-in Hospital beyond

    There was a new auction record for Irish artist Samuel Frederick Brocas at Christie’s classic week sales. A pen and ink and watercolour of the GPO and Nelson’s Pillar, Sackville Street, with the Dublin Lying-in hospital beyond sold for £20,000.

    The General Post Office on Sackville Street, modern day O’Connell Street, is perhaps the most iconic of Dublin’s buildings, serving as the headquarters of the Irish Republicans during the Easter Rising of 1916. The adjacent Nelson’s Pillar survived the Rising but was destroyed by Republicans in 1966. The rotunda of the Dublin Lying-in Hospital, today the Rotunda Gate Theatre, is visible, as is the spire of the St George’s church.


    Friday, July 7th, 2017

    FRANCESCO GUARDI (Venice 1712–1793), The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi.

    A painting by Francesco Guardi handed down through generations of the Guinness family made £26.2 million at Christie’s Classic Week Old Masters evening sale in London last night. The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi achieved the highest price paid for an Old Master this year. It  is one of the celebrated pair of views of the Grand Canal at the Rialto, which are widely regarded as the most accomplished works of Guardi’s early maturity. Ambitious in scale and startlingly innovative both in design and pictorial mood, this work stands among the masterpieces of eighteenth-century European art. The picture is prominently signed and exceptionally well preserved, having been offered for sale only once in its history.

    The sale totalled £43,848,250.  The evening sale achieved 75% by lot and 78% by value and saw registered bidders from 23 countries, across 4 continents.

    Henry Pettifer, Head of Christie’s Old Master Paintings EMERI said: “’The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi’ by Francesco Guardi is the most expensive Old Master painting since the sale of Rubens’s ‘Lot and his Daughters’ this time last year. It continues the momentum in the Old Masters field at Christie’s and proves once again the global appetite for the very best works of art.”

    (See post on for April 5, 2017)


    Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

    Max Beckmann, Hölle der Vögel (Birds’ Hell) c CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2017

    Max Beckmann’s Hölle der Vögel (Birds’ Hell) (1937-38) achieved a new world record price for the artist of £36,005,000 at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 27.  The work continues the Germanic tradition of using gruesome allegorical scenes at the same time as taking aspects of Classicism and mythology to turn reality into a timeless evocation of human suffering.

    In this sense, the painting transcends the time and political situation in which it was created to become a universal symbol of humanity like Pablo Picasso’s Guernica of the same period. Begun in Amsterdam in 1937 and completed in Paris at the end of 1938 it ranks amongst the clearest and most important anti-Nazi statements that the artist ever made.

    The sale totalled £149.5 million.  Three lots made over £20 million, the Beckmann, Picasso’s Femme ecrivant (Marie-Therese) which made £34.8 million and Van Gogh’s Le moissonneur (d’apres Millet) which made £24.2 million.


    Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

    The Rockefeller Winston emerald

    There was a world auction record per carat at Christie’s in New York last night when The Rockefeller Emerald sold for $5,511,500.  This amounted to $305,000 per carat.  The octagonal step-cut emerald is approximately 18.04 carats.

    It was sold to jeweller Harry Winston. CFO Robert Scott was bidding in Christie’s Rockefeller Plaza saleroom with instructions from Harry Winston CEO Nayla Hayek to “bring this magnificent gem home at any price.” Following the sale, Nayla Hayek commented “Harry Winston is immensely proud to own the finest emerald in the world which once belonged to one of America’s most important dynasties.”

    The sale of magnificent jewels totalled $26.1 million and was 83% sold by lot and 89% by value. There was strong results for jewels from Louis Comfort Tiffany once part of The Garden Museum Collection in Japan.


    Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

    The collection of Raine, Countess Spencer (1929-2016) comes up at Christie’s in London in July. Only daughter of romantic novelist Dame Barbara Cartland and stepmother to Diana, Princess of Wales she enjoyed a position at the centre of London society for over 60 years. Lady Spencer had an appreciation of the fine and decorative arts; 18th century France was of special interest, and she assembled a collection of paintings by some of the greatest artists of that period, including Boucher, Fragonard and Vernet. She collected fine furniture on which she displayed ormolu clocks, objets d’art and Chinese works of art – including intricately carved jades; the Art Deco was also a period of particular inspiration. Highlights from Lady Spencer’s collection of French 18th century Old Master paintings will be offered at Christie’s Old Masters evening sale on July 6.  This will be followed by a sale featuring furniture, Old Master paintings, objets d’art and jades and a selection of couture, jewellery and accessories from her personal wardrobe on July 13. Here is a small selection with all images courtesy of Christie’s.

    Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris)
    A Mediterranean sea-port with fishermen unloading cargo (£300,000-500,000)

    Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris)
    The goddess Aurora triumphs over night, announcing Apollo in his chariot, while Morpheus sleeps – a bozzetto (£150,000-200,000)

    One of several ‘Lady Dior’ handbags, this one of black leather with stud work decoration (£1,000-1,500)



    Thursday, May 18th, 2017

    Cy Twombly (1928-2011) – Leda and the Swan

    The top lots at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary evening sale in New York last night were Cy Twombly’s  Leda and the Swan ($52,887,500) and  Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer ($51,767,500).

    The 68 lots sold brought in $448 million and Christie’s say that the results rank among the strongest ever for this category in New York.  A total of 71 lots were offered and five sold for over $20 million.

    La Hara by Basquiat made $34.9 million, Red White and Brushstrokes by Lichtenstein made $28.2 million and Big Campbell’s soup can with can opener (vegetable) by Warhol made $27.5 million.

    (See posts on for February 24 and March 21, 2017)

    IN a post sales roundup Christie’s reported that the spring auction series totalled $842.5 million.   The week scored the highest total for an Impressionist and Modern evening sale at Christie’s since May 2010 and the strongest sell-through rates for a Post-War and Contemporary evening sale in a decade.


    Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

    CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI (1867-1957) La muse endormie

    Constantin Brancusi’s La Muse Endormie sold for a world record price of $57.3 million at Christie’s in New York last night. It went to a client in the room after a nine minute bidding battle.

    Pablo Picasso’s Femme assize, robe bleue made $45 million. A total of 43 of the 55 lots offered at the Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale found buyers.  The sale brought in $288.1 million.

    (See posts on for April 20 and March 30, 2017)


    Thursday, April 20th, 2017

    CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI (1867-1957) La muse endormie , patinated bronze with gold leaf, Length: 10 ½ inches  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $57.3 MILLION, A WORLD RECORD

    Constantin Brancusi’s sculpture La muse endormie will be a highlight  at Christie’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 15 in New York. Estimated at $20-30 million La muse endormie counts among the greatest achievements in sculptural history. Its drastic purification of form and emotional resonance mark the dawn of a new sculptural language.

    First conceived in marble in 1909-1910, La muse endormie was cast by Brancusi in six bronze versions by 1913. Four bronzes today are housed in museums—The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, and two examples in the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris—while two, including the present work, remain in private collections. This one was acquired by the distinguished French collector Jacques UImann in the 1950’s and has remained in his family to this day.

    Jessica Fertig, Senior Vice President, Head of Evening Sale, Impressionist and Modern Art, said: La muse endormie has a magical amplitude — displaying a formal genius and wondrously modulated patina. Brancusi considered each of his La muse endormie bronzes a unique work of art, rather than as part of a uniform edition. He therefore oversaw the patination process during casting to ensure variations between every bronze. Brancusi delighted in the varying effects of color and finish, always aware of the diversity of expression he could achieve through patination. The present sculpture has a rich, warm patina that Brancusi heightened by gilding sections, a contrast he described to the legendary American collector John Quinn as enhancing the expressive power of his art.”