Christie’s look forward to busy week of auctions


Detail of Pablo Picasso, 'Les Femme D’Algers'.Les femmes d'Alger (Version "O") oil on canvas 44.7/8 x 57.5/8in. (114 x 146.4cm.) Painted on February 14, 1955 © 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy of Christie's.

Christie’s New York is looking for a record week with five sales running.

Christie’s are starting the week with their ‘Looking forward to the past’ evening sale taking place on Monday 11 which will combine both Impressionist & Modern art with Post-War & Contemporary works.

The Post-War and Contemporary sales will follow this taking place with the day sales taking place on Tuesday and Thursday sandwiching the evening sale.

The Impressionist and Modern sales will take place directly afterwards on the Thurday and Friday. The evening Impressionist sale will take place on the same day as the second Post-War and Contemporary day sale, a change from the last year when both Impressionist and Modern sales took place in the first week of May.

‘Looking forward to past’ will open the weeks sales with high expectations. The sale will include 25 works, dated between 1902 and the end of the 20th century. Jussi Pylkkanen, global president at Christie’s says: “it has become apparent that we live in a new era of collectors who are chasing major objects across all of our evening sales.”

The auction will include Picasso’s ‘Femme D’Algers’ (version “O”) which has been highly anticipated and is estimated to bring in around $140 million. The painting, which is one of 15 variations of this subject by the artist, is influenced by the work of Eugene Delcroix, an artist who Picasso was said to be fascinated by. In May 2010 Christie’s set the auction record for a work by Picasso, selling ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ for $106.5 million.

Other works of note on Monday’s auction include a life size bronze sculpture ‘L’homme au doight’ by Alberto Giacometti estimated to fetch around $130 million and Claude Monet’s ‘Le Parlement, Soleil Couchant’ estimated between $35 million and $45 million.

“It is clear that the art of yesterday informs the art of today,” said Loic Gouzer, international specialist for the Post-War and Contemporary Art department at Christie’s, there is an “overarching theme of artists using inspiration from the past to create something entirely innovative and new.”

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art sales rose 19% in 2014 whilst Post-War and Contemporary sales increased 39% from the previous year. The auction house says the number of buyers who bid in both sales has increased 80% in the last five years. Overall sales in both areas have increased from $1.4 billion to $4 billion.

Following on from this, ‘Benefits Supervisor Resting’ by Lucian Freud will lead the Post-War and Contemporary evening sale at Christie’s. Estimated between $30 million and $50 million, Christie’s currently holds the top 11 sale prices for Freud’s work, including the artist’s record which was set at $33.6 million for another of his paintings of the same sitter ‘Benefit Supervisor Sleeping’.

The Impressionist and Modern art sales will feature Piet Mondrian’s oil on canvas ‘Composition No. III (Composition with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black).’ Which is the first in a sequence of nine works that Mondrian created in the same compositional style. In 2009 Christie’s set a world record for a work by Mondrian in their Paris auction house for ‘Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir’ which sold for $27.5 million. The composition on sale next week is estimated to reach between $15 million to $25 million.

The Mondrian will be accompanied in the sale by ‘Les Meules à Giverny’ by Monet and ‘Le corsage rouge’ by Fernand Leger both estimated to reach over $10 million.

Around eight other sales will also take place next week at a European branches of the auction house, as well as several online sales.

Sotheby’s have led the way this week with strong sales for paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso in their Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale this week. Phillips are also rising to the challenge with a rare female nude portrait by Francis Bacon which has been guaranteed by the auction house in their Contemporary and Post War evening sale.

Christie’s big week