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    Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022
    Entrance to the Grand Canal looking East, with Santa Maria della Salute at right UPDATE: In the hours leading up to the auction, Christie’s announced the private sale of Venice, the Grand Canal looking East with Santa Maria della Salute by Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, enabled through a generous donation by Diane B. Wilsey.

    The legendary Ann & Gordon Getty Collection will be sold at Christie’s through a series of landmark auctions beginning next October. The collection stands alone in its quality, rarity and beauty. Nearly 1,500 works of  English and European furniture, Asian works of art, European ceramics, Chinese export porcelain, silver, European and Asian textiles, and Impressionist and Old Master paintings from the couple’s San Francisco residence will be offered. The sales in October are expected to achieve as much as $180 million. Proceeds will benefit the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts and designated beneficiaries include California based organisations like the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, University of San Francisco, Berkeley Geochronology Center, and the Leakey Foundation.

    Chrysanthèmes dans un vase de Chine UPDATE: THIS MADE $5.1 MILLION

    Gordon Getty commented: “Though she left us far too soon, I know Ann would be proud that her exquisite eye and unmatched dedication to craftsmanship and scholarship are being shared with the world, and that the philanthropic planning around our art collection is being realised. These sales are a continuation of the longstanding philanthropic goals of the Getty family first established by my father, J. Paul Getty.”


    Thursday, June 7th, 2018

    Henri Matisse, Portrait of Mary Hutchinson, 1936  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £3.1 MILLION

    A Matisse portrait of the writer Mary Hutchinson comes up at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale in London on June 19. It was created in the Paris studio of Matisse in 1936 and is estimated at £2-3 million.  Mary Hutchinson, a member of the Bloomsbury gr0up, was an active patron of the arts throughout her life.  A cousin of Lytton Strachey and friend of artist Duncan Grant, Mary was introduced to the Bloomsbury set and commenced a decade-long love affair with the art critic Clive Bell, the husband of painter Vanessa Bell. In 1915, Vanessa painted her own portrait of Mary, in dazzling colours reminiscent of Matisse’s style.

    The charcoal portrait  – one of only a handful of commissioned portrait drawings Matisse made of English women –  is coming for sale from the estate of the late Lord Hutchinson of Lullington, QC, the sitter’s son. He was a renowned criminal barrister who defended Christine Keeler and Howard Marks, as well as the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in a long career of watershed legal cases and cause célèbres.  The sitting was arranged by the artist’s son-in-law Georges Duthuit, who was a writer and friend of Vanessa and Duncan.


    Saturday, May 12th, 2018


    After a six-month campaign, ten days of online sales and three days of dynamic auctions at Christie’s Rockefeller Center, the total for the 1,500 objects comprising the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller reached $832,573,469.  Well exceeding initial expectations this established the highest auction total ever for a private collection at auction.

    The most significant charitable auction in history, all of the estate proceeds will be directed to philanthropies Peggy and David Rockefeller supported during their lifetimes, for the benefit of continuing scientific research, higher education, support for the arts, sustainable economic development, and land conservation initiatives, among others.  Over the course of the sales, numerous world auction records were established across the fine and decorative arts. An additional nineteen lots of jewellery from the collection will come up at the June 12 sale of Magnificent Jewels.

    The top lots of the sale included Picasso’s, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, which realized $115,000,000, the second highest price for the artist, Monet’s Nymphéas en fleur which sold for a record $84,687,500, and Matisse’s Odalisque couchée aux magnolias which sold for $80,750,000, another auction record. Further records include Diego Rivera’s The Rivals that sold for $9,762,500, establishing a world auction record for the artist and for a work of Latin American Art. The Art of the Americas sale set a new record for the category total, and Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington (Vaughan type), set a record for the artist at $11,562,500.  Among the decorative arts, a record was set for 19th Century porcelain for the Sèvres ‘Marly Rouge’ service commissioned by Napoleon I, which sold for $1,812,500.


    Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

    PICASSO – Fillette à la corbeille fleurie    

    It was an historic night at Christie’s in New York as the 19th & 20th Century Art Evening Sale, the first sale in the series from the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, totalled $646,133,594 / £476,148,559 / €541,380,911. This exceeded the high estimate by $100 million.  This is the most significant charitable auction ever.

    The top lots of the sale were Picasso’s, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, which realized $115,000,000, Monet’s Nymphéas en fleur, which totaled $84,687,500, and Matisse’s Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, which sold for $80,750,000.

    In total, 7 works sold above $30 million, and 7 world auction artist records were set for Monet, Matisse, Corot, Delacroix, Seguin, Morandi and Redon. Collectors from Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia participated in the sales, representing 34 different countries.

    Marc Porter, Chairman Americas, “The twin goals of education and philanthropy have driven this project and we have been so gratified with the engagement from global audiences from the moment we launched the sale in Hong Kong last November. The Rockefeller legacy has resonated strongly and we are thrilled with the results achieved for the first evening in this series of sales, already over our expectations. With new price levels set for Monet, Matisse, Corot, and others, the bidding was testament to the taste, connoisseurship and standing of the Rockefeller family combined with a shared goal to achieve a great result for the charitable beneficiaries of the sale. We continue tomorrow.”

    Sales of The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller  continue with English & European Furniture, Ceramics and Decorations Part I  and the Art of the Americas Evening Sale  on 9 May, and the Fine Art Day SaleEnglish & European Furniture, Ceramics and Decorations Part II  and Travel and Americana  on10 May. The Online only sale continues until Friday 11 May.

    • The most valuable collection ever previously offered at auction was the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé in 2009 at Christie’s Paris, which achieved more than US$400 million.

    Matisse – Odalisque couchée aux magnolias

    Monet – Nymphéas en fleur


    Thursday, February 4th, 2016

    Auguste Rodin - Iris

    Auguste Rodin – Iris

    Impressionist, Modern and Surreal art brought in a total of £93.7 million at Sotheby’s in London last night.  The top lot was Pablo Picasso’s Tete de Femme which sold for£18.9 million.  It was a portrait of his muse Marie Therese Walter painted in 1935. A lifetime cast of Auguste Rodin’s Iris – once in the collection of Sylvester Stallone – sold for £11.6 million.  The Surrealist section was led by Le Miroir by Paul Delvaux which sold for £7.3 million, a new auction record for the artist.  Henri Matisse’s La Lecon de Piano sold for £10.8 million and  Claude Monet’s Le Palais Ducal vu de Saint Georges Majeur  sold for £11.6 million.

    La Lecon de Piano by Henri Matisse

    La Lecon de Piano by Henri Matisse

    There were participants from 35 countries, which was on a par with last year.  Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department, said: “Tonight we saw continued market activity across all price levels, with depth of bidding from a broad international spectrum. Five lots selling for more than £7/$10 million and there was particular strength for sculpture and Surrealism – with record prices achieved for both Rodin and Delvaux.”

    Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art continue today.


    Sunday, January 31st, 2016

    An exceptional painting by Henri Matisse  is a highlight at Sotheby’s in London on February 3.  The Impressionist and Modern Art and Surrealist evening sales feature a variety of masterpieces.  The Matisse – entitled La Lecon de piano – has emerged after 85 years in a private collection and is estimated at £12-18 million. Here is a quick preview:

    (See posts on for January 27, 2016 and December 23, 2015)

    Rene Magritte - Sheherazade (£500,000-700,000).

    Rene Magritte – Sheherazade (£500,000-700,000).  UPDATE: THIS MADE £785,000

    Paul Signac - Voile dans la brume. Canal de la Giudecca (£850,000-1.2 million).

    Paul Signac – Voile dans la brume. Canal de la Giudecca (£850,000-1.2 million).  UPDATE: THIS  SOLD FOR £1,025,000

    Francis Picabia - Le Ventilateur (£1.8-2.5 million,

    Francis Picabia – Le Ventilateur (£1.8-2.5 million,  UPDTE: THIS MADE £2.3 MILLION

    Rene Magritte - L'usage de la parole (£500,000-700,000).

    Rene Magritte – L’usage de la parole (£500,000-700,000).   UPDATE: THIS MADE £965,000


    Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

    Works from the Art Collection of Sting & Trudie Styler will be offered at auction at Christie’s in London next February 24. Formed over the past 20 years and housed in their former family home at Queen Anne’s Gate, London the collection captures the couple’s passion for art and design. Over 200 lots – from bold abstracts by Ben Nicholson and Alan Reynolds and striking Mapplethorpe photographs and sophisticated 20th century furniture and lighting – will come under the hammer.  Estimates range from £1,000 to £500,000.

    Andy Waters, Senior Director, Head of Private Collection Sales, Christie’s London said: Their home at Queen Anne’s Gate effortlessly combined luxury, rarity and colour – a skilful balance that created the ultimate London home. Each work of art was carefully chosen and the resulting collection is a testament to Sting and Trudie Styler’s informed eye for Art and Design. Alongside works by Matisse, Picasso, Mapplethorpe and Nicholson, the collection includes Sting’s Steinway piano, which occupied pride of place in the music room at Queen Anne’s Gate.”  UPDATE: THE SALE BROUGHT IN £3,006,812

    HENRI MATISSE (1869-1954) Jazz the complete set of 20 pochoirs in colors, 1947 (£250,000-350,000).

    HENRI MATISSE (1869-1954) Jazz the complete set of 20 pochoirs in colors, 1947 (£250,000-350,000).  UPDATE: THESE SOLD FOR £530,500

    PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) Le Corsage à Carreaux lithograph, 1949 (£30,000-50,000).

    PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) Le Corsage à Carreaux
    lithograph, 1949 (£30,000-50,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £45,000

    Ben Nicholson, O.M. (1894-1982) March 55 (amethyst) (£300,000-500,000)

    Ben Nicholson, O.M. (1894-1982) March 55 (amethyst) (£300,000-500,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE £1,022,500

    The Living Room.

    The Living Room.


    Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

    Matisse Nu de dos (1er état) is estimated at $20-30 million. (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: THIS WAS SOLD PRIVATELY BEFORE THE AUCTION.

    A cast of each of four monumental bronze sculptures by Henri Matisse, known collectively as Les Nus de dos (The Backs), is to be offered by Sotheby’s in four consecutive sales of Impressionist and Modern Art in London and New York.  The first comes up in New York on November 2.  Nu de dos (1er état) is estimated at $20-30 million.  Conceived in 1908-09 at the culmination of Matisse’s involvement with the Fauves the sculpture exemplifies the fluidity of line that dominated his paintings from this era.

    Each of the four works was conceived individually over the course of two decades, and together they chart the evolution of Matisse’s artistic development through the early 20th century. The bronzes have been consigned by The Burnett Foundation of Fort Worth  Texas, and proceeds will further support the community of Fort Worth – the Foundation’s primary mission since its inception 30 years ago.  Dos II, Dos III and Dos IV will be offered individually in the next sales of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s: London, February 2012; New York, May 2012; and London, June 2012.

    They were consigned by the Burnett Foundation of Fort Worth and proceeds will support the local community.  The Foundation acquired the works in 1982 from Californian collector Norton Simon, who bought them from the artist’s estate in 1966.  They were on show for ten years at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

    UPDATE:  THE Matisse bronze was sold on November 1 prior to the auction as part of a quartet of Matisse bronzes in a private transaction.  The deal was made by Sotheby’s who did not release any information about the purchaser or disclose the price.


    Thursday, November 4th, 2010

    Matisse’s monumental bronze sculpture of a woman’s back made $48.8 million at Christie’s in New York on November 3 well above its $35 million high estimate.  This was a new record for the artist.

    It was bought by dealer Larry Gagosian for a client he did not name.

    The sale, strongest for quality items, brought $231.4 million against an estimate of $199 million to $287 million. Of the 84 works on offer, 67 sold.

    A 1913 Cublist painting by Juan Gris, “Violin and Guitar.” made $28.6 million, a record auction price.

    See posts on for October 5 and November 1.