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    Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
    Vincent van Gogh, L'Allee des Alyscamps

    Vincent van Gogh, L’Allee des Alyscamps

    Vincent van Gogh’s vibrant L’Allee des Alyscamps  made $66.3 million at Sotheby’s in New York last year. It was the top lot in an Impressionist and Modern evening art auction that brought in $368.3 million over a pre-sale high estimate of $351 million.  Five bidders competed for the work, which had been estimated at in excess of $40 million.  It was sold to an Asian private collector.  Three of the top five lots of the night went to Asia.

    Monet’s Nympheas (Water Lillies) from 1905 was the second highest lot of the evening. It was sold to an American private collector for $54 million.  Five works by Monet totalled $115.4 million.

    All eleven pieces from the estate of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Jerome H. Stone found buyers, amounting to a total of $57.8 million. Alberto Giacometti’s Femme de Venise VI – the tallest from his standing female nude series – was held in the Stone collection for more than 20 years and sold for $16.2 million.

    Pablo Picasso’s Femme au chignon dans un fauteuil, which had remained in the Goldwyn Collection since 1956, made $29.9 million.  It set a record for a portrait by Picasso of his lover Francoise Gilot.  It was purchased by a major figure in the Chinese film industry: Wang Zhongjun, Chairman and co-founder of entertainment giant Huayi Brothers Media Group. Wang Zhongjun said: “I first fell in love with the painting and then I fell in love with its story. The Goldwyn family is legendary in our industry and in this one work, I can see not only Pablo Picasso’s genius, but also Samuel Goldwyn Sr.’s creative vision.”

    (See posts on for March 19, April 13 and April 29, 2015).


    Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

    The 69 works at Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on May 5 are estimated to achieve more than $270 million.  The eleven works from the collection of Chicago philanthropist Jerome H. Stone – largely unseen for the last 45 years – are led by Fernand Leger’s La Roue Bleue,  Etat Definitif ($8-12 million).

    The auction features six paintings by Monet spanning the period from the 1870’s to the 1910’s and including his most celebrated subjects like water lilies, Venice, a snowscape, the Seine and the Normandy coast. Nympheas (Water Lilies) is estimated at $30-45 million.  Nu couchee et femme se lavant les pieds by Picasso is from a private collection.  There is a strong selection of 15 Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist sculpture including Femme de Venise VI by Giacometti ($8-12 million) and Le Chat by Picasso ($2-3 million).

    (See post on for April 13, 2015)

    Pablo PIcasso -  Le Chat

    Pablo PIcasso – Le Chat  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $1,810,000 

    Fernand Leger - La Roue Bleue, état definitif

    Fernand Leger – La Roue Bleue, état définitif  UPDATE: THIS MADE $10,554,000

    Alberto Giacometti - Femme de Venise VI

    Alberto Giacometti – Femme de Venise VI  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $16,154,000

    Pablo Picasso - Nu couche et femme se lavant les pieds.

    Pablo Picasso – Nu couche et femme se lavant les pieds.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $10,330,000

    Nympheas (Water Lilies) by Claude Monet.

    Nympheas (Water Lilies) by Claude Monet. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $54,010,000



    Thursday, April 9th, 2015
    Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Composition No. III (Composition with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black), 1929. ($15-25 million).

    Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Composition No. III (Composition with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black), 1929. ($15-25 million). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $50,565,000

    THE schedule for the New York Spring sales of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s  has been revised to reflect the cross-collecting tastes of todays buyers.  The series will now launch on May 11 with a special curated sale entitled Looking Forward to the Past led by Picasso’s Femmes d’Alger (Version O) which is set to become the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. It is estimated in the region of $140 million.  By adding this sale with its blend of Impressionist, Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary objects, Christie’s created  what it saw as  an opportunity to fully embrace the cross-category collecting approach to the benefit of clients.

    Claude Monet (1840-1926) Les meules à Giverny ($12-18 million) © Christie’s Images Limited 2015

    Claude Monet (1840-1926)
    Les meules à Giverny ($12-18 million) © Christie’s Images Limited 2015  UPDATE: THIS MADE $16.4 MILLION

    Christie’s Impressionist and Modern art sales will then resume on a new date, Thursday May 14, with the evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art led by two superb examples from the era: Monet’s Les Meules à Giverny ($12-18 million) and Piet Mondrian’s Composition No. III (Composition with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black) ($15-25 million). This sale is anchored by offerings from the collection of John C. Whitehead, the late former chairman of Goldman Sachs. Of the 44 lots to be offered on May 14, 95% have been in private collections for the last decade or more, and 84% of the works have been previously been featured in museum exhibitions.

    UPDATE:  The evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art realized $202,608,000 with sell-through rates of 93% by lot and 99%

    (See posts on for March 9, March 16 and March 29)


    Saturday, March 26th, 2011

    Les Peupliers by Claude Monet at Christie's.

    Monet’s Les Peupliers will feature at Christie’s Modern Art evening sale in New York on May 4.  This is one of the most celebrated of the great series of works from his years in Giverny.  Painted en plein air during the summer of 1891, the work is the largest of the artist’s paintings devoted to a picturesque arrangement of poplar trees, known as the “tree of liberty” in his native France.

    Most of the 24 works in Claude Monet’s Poplars series are housed in major museums around the world, with the remainder in private collections.  The story behind them is interesting.  In 1891 Monet learned that a row of mature poplar trees near his house was to be cut down. He made a deal with the woodcutter to leave them standing long enough for him to continue painting them. This resulted in the series of paintings in differing perspectives, lights and seasons all conceived from his small floating studio on the waterway.
    Estimated at US$ 20-30 million, the painting is offered from an important private collection and remains in pristine condition, in its original unvarnished and unlined state.  The top price paid for a Monet at auction was $80.4 million for Le bassin aux Nympheas from 1919.  It was sold at Christie’s in London in June 2008.
    UPDATE:  IT MADE $22,482,500


    Friday, March 11th, 2011
    This painting, Femme cueillant des Fleurs (Woman picking flowers) depicts Camille Monet, first wife of Claude Monet, who died young.  The work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) features at The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) at Maastricht. It is being sold through Dickinson by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in the United States in order to strengthen other areas of its collection.
    Important early Impressionist paintings are increasingly rare on the market. This one is a poignant reminder of a story of fierce jealousy involving Monet’s first and second wives. Camille Doncieux was 18 years old when Monet met her in 1865. She became his lover and the model for a number of  works in these early years. Monet’s father refused to accept her into the family because of her humble origins. Despite this the couple married in 1870.
    The lifelong friendship between Monet and Renoir was at its closest between 1866 and 1875. The two men often painted together. Camille was depicted in a number of their paintings including Femme cueillant des Fleurs, which dates from this period in the development of Impressionism.  A year after Renoir painted this picture, Camille became ill and in 1879 she died aged 32 , her already poor health worsened by the recent birth of her second son Michel.
    Monet’s second wife Alice Hoschedé destroyed all the material that she could find relating to Camille. Only one photograph survived the purge.
    TEFAF runs at Maastricht in The Netherlands from March 18-27.
    See posts for January 6 and Janaury 13.