Expensive Art

G. Klimt. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II. 1912. Oil on canvas. 190,0 И 120,0 cm. Estimate $40,000,000–60,000,000. Sold for $87,936,000. Christie's, New York. November 8

On November 8 auction house Christie’s held sales titled «Impressionist and modern» at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The important auction totaled staggering $491,000,000, thus setting the new world record for an auction dedicated to works of art.

«I have never seen anything like that before, – Christopher Burger, the senior Christie’s auctioneer said just after the sales were over. – It was the most incredible auction I have ever taken part in».

The sales started with a scandal. The famous painting «Portrait of Angel de Soto» by celebrated Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (estimated by Christie’s experts at $40,000,000–60,000,000) was not put up for sale despite the positive court verdict. We remind our readers that the property rights on the masterpiece (now the painting belongs to the Foundation of Andrew Lloyd Weber) had been contested by German citizen Julius Schoeps. First, after court’s decision, the painting had been withdrawn from the sale, but later the court rejected Schoep’s claims and cancelled the initial decision.

A. Rodin. Andromeda. 1894–1896. Marble. Height 34,3 cm. Estimate $500,000–700,000. Sold for $3,040,000. Christie's, Christie's, New York. November 8

Among the lots that did extremely well at the auction were several paintings by Gustav Klimt. Estimated at $40,000,000–60,000,000 «Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer» fetched stunning $87,936,000. Artworks by Egon Schiele from the collection of Ronald Lauder met the expectation of their owner. Exceptional paintings were sold within the estimates realizing impressive $39,248,000 in total.

Notably, the painting «Man with Axe» by Paul Gauguin was also hammered within the pre-sale estimate ($35,000,000–45,000,000) for $40,336,000 setting the new record for a work by the artist.

Other highlights of the event included the sculpture «Andromeda» by Auguste Rodin. Despite the quite modest estimate $500,000–700,000, the unique artwork managed to bring $3,040,000.
The extremely successful sales comprised eighty-five lots; only six of them (including two pictures by Pablo Picasso) failed to find new owners at the auction. Most likely, such stunning result of the sale owes much to various scandals and disputes connected with inheritance rights that took place throughout 2006. Just remember the recent trial between Maria Altman and Austrian government concerning pictures by Gustav Klimt.

Thus, the «Portrait of Angel de Soto» may be put up for sale in near future as well.

Published in: on December 12, 2006 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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