Sotheby’s Modern Evening Auction Totals $408.5 Million – Third Highest Sale Total in Company History?

Sotheby’s Modern Evening Auction Totals $408.5 Million – Third Highest Sale Total in Company History?

Modern Evening Auction Totals $408.5 Million 
*Third Highest Total for Any Sale Held at Sotheby’s*

Highlighted by:

Pablo Picasso’s Large-Scale Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter Sells for $67.5 Million

Claude Monet’s Masterful Venice View, Sells for $56.6 Million,
 The Most Valuable Venice View by Monet 

Paul Cézanne’s Clairière (The Glade) Sells for $41.7 Million,
Pushing Total for Trio of Works from Toledo Museum of Art to Nearly $60 Million

The two titans of modern art – Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet – squared off tonight as the standard-bearers for the market and the foundation for another record-setting night at Sotheby’s. Both works sold tonight showcased the artists at the height of their powers, with each representing a distinct moment of transformation that would play a pivotal role in defining their respective careers.

Brooke Lampley, Sotheby’s Chairman & Worldwide Head of Sales for Global Fine Art

The total realized tonight was testament to the enduring demand for Classic Impressionist and Modern works from our global collectors. We saw strong prices across the board for works by the giants of Modern art, from Monet and Cezanne through to Modigliani, Matisse, Picasso, Giacometti and de Kooning – a testament to the continued stature of this artistic period in the international market.

Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Impressionist & Modern Art 

Since we first initiated our expanded scope of offerings for the category, placing them alongside the historic forebears who inspired them, we’ve continued to see the market expand in new areas that complement this holistic mindset. Among them is Surrealism, which had another great night tonight, setting new artist benchmarks and spotlighting the ways in which Surrealism took shape around the world, from Europe to Latin America to America. The sale was also buoyed by an enthusiastic response to abstract masterworks by Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, and others

Julian Dawes, Head of Modern Art, Sotheby’s New York

Fact & Figures from Tonight’s Sale:

  • Sale total: $408.5 million (estimate $329.7M – $428.2M) – marking the third most valuable auction total in Sotheby’s history
  • One-third of the sale was fresh to market, not offered at auction in 20 years or more
  • Four works sell for more than $20 million, and 10 sell for more than $10 million
  • 88% sold
  • Collectors in Asia were active across the sale, taking home Claude Monet’s Les Arceaux de roses, Giverny
  • Strong participation from online bidders, including on Lots 2, 4, 16, 49
  • Five auctions records: Maximilien Luce, Leonora Carrington, Milton Avery, Robert Motherwell (work on paper), and Jared French
  • Over 40% of works sold achieved over high estimate
  • For the first time, an Evening Auction was broadcast live in full via Instagram, attracting nearly 20,000 viewers, and sale highlights garnered 300,000 views on TikTok this week

Modern Evening Auction At a Glance:

  • Pablo Picasso’s Femme nue couchée, a remarkably sensual portrait of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter from 1932, sold for $67.5 million – one of the highest prices ever achieved for a Marie-Thérèse portrait. 
    An additional six works by Picasso sold this evening, including the artist’s L’Étreinte which sold for $14.1 million, bringing the total for Picasso this week to more than $106 million
  • Claude Monet’s Le Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute sold for $56.6 million, setting a new benchmark for any view of Italy by any artist, as well as the most valuable Venice view by Monet ever sold at auction.
  • An additional two works by Monet sold, showcasing the artist’s critical position as a pillar of the Modern art market. Among them was Monet’s Les Arceaux De Roses, Giverny, which sold for $23.3 million, bringing the artist’s combined total for the sale to $86.2 million.
  • A trio of works from the Toledo Museum of Art sold for nearly $60 million – led by Paul Cézanne’s Clairière (The Glade) which achieved $41.7 million – the third highest price ever achieved at auction for a work by the artist. Also part of the group were Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Nu s’essuyant ($2.7 million) and Henri Matisse’s Fleurs ou Fleurs devant un portrait ($15.3 million) sold following a prolonged bidding battle between Sotheby’s phone bidders in New York and Hong Kong
    • Proceeds from the sale will establish a lasting endowment that more than doubles the museum’s current art acquisition fund created by founding benefactors Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey.
  • Estates and collections comprised nearly 40% of the lots on offer this evening
    • 10 works from the Collection of Paul Yeou Chichong was 100% sold, achieving a combined $32.4 million – highlighted by Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti, scène de rivière which sold for $8.9 million.
    • Drawn Together: The Collection of Marcia and Stanley Gumberg featured an exceptional group of works on paper, and totaled $21.6 million. The group was led by Willem de Kooning’s Leaves in Weehawken which sold for $10.1 million (estimate $3/5 million).
    • Eternal Style: A Private American Collection was highlighted by Fernand Léger’s Le Campeur, étude which sold for $7.2 million (estimate $4/6 million), a highly finished variation of Leger’s paintings depicting a group of campers
  • Abstract Expressionist works continue to shine in the Modern Sale, led by Philip Guston’s 1958 Nile selling for $18 million, among the most valuable works by the artist sold at auction. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the O’Donnell Foundation.
    • Works by Barnett Newman, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Robert Motherwell all sold firmly within estimate
  • Five or more bidders competed for bold-faced names of 19th and 20th century art:
    • Amedeo Modigliani’s Madame Dorival and Alberto Giacometti’s Femme de Venise II each sold for $17.6 million, in addition to Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 59 ($1.2 million), Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti, scène de rivière, and Pablo Picasso’s Femme debout ($2.1 million)
  • Global surrealism sees strong demand: works by Leonora Carrington and Jared French both achieved new auction records, alongside strong results for Kay Sage, René Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Victor Brauner, Salvador Dali, and Matta. 

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