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 Cézanne was offered in the “Hidden Treasures” section, which saw a number of works fail to sell, including Claude Monet’s Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas (1916–19) and Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche (1885). Other passes included Claude Monet’s Iris (1924–25) and Kees van Dongen’s Madame veuve rose (1911–42).
1.2. Vincent van Gogh. Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche (1885). Estimate: £8,000,000 - £12,000,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s.
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.
1.2. Gustave Caillebotte. Chemin montant, 1881.
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.
Magritte’s "Le Principe du Plaisir" (1937) broke an artist’s record when it sold for $26.8 million at Sotheby’s New York in November 2018, and now "Le lieu commun" is within striking distance of a new high mark just few months later. Other artist's painting "Le pain quotidien", 1942 (estimation price at £2 million-£3 million) was sold for £3.3 million ($4.5 million) and "La belle captive", 1946 went for £2.1 million ($2.9 million).
Based on materials from Artnet.com, Christie's official site.
Title illustation: Paul Signac’s Le Port au soleil couchant, Opus 236 (Saint-Tropez) (1892). Image courtesy of Christie’s.