Monet Painting Led Christie’s US$128m Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale in London

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale in London brought in a solid £128.1m(US$168.3m), exceeding its presale low estimate £96.4m. Of 45 lots offered, 37 were successfully sold, in which 29 of them were sold within or above estimates. The sale was led by its cover lot, Claude Monet’s La Gare Saint-Lazare, vue extérieure.

La Gare Saint-Lazare, vue extérieure was painted by French Impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926), estimate on request. It depicts the Gare Saint-Lazare, the bustling train station located in the centre of Paris. Monet finished the artwork in just three months and never before had he worked with such intensity and speed. The collection that this painting belongs to is the artist’s final and most ambitious confrontation with modernity. After the completion of this series, he abandoned scenes of modern life and turned to landscape painting.

The auction was presided over by Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie's Global President

Claude Monet's La Gare Saint-Lazare, vue extérieure was hammered down for £22m and sold for nearly £25m

The auctioneer, Jussi Pylkkänen, started the bidding at £17m and only received limited following bids. He put the hammer down at £22m and sold it for nearly £25m (US$32.8m) with premium included to a gentleman sitting on the aisle who immediately left the auction after acquiring the lot.

The second highest price was realized by Pablo Picasso's (1881-1973) Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar), portrait of his lover Dora Maar. The mysterious beauty inspired some of the greatest portraits of Picasso’s career during their nine-year relationship. The earliest portraits of Dora evoke a tender, calm and sensual appreciation of her form. As their relationship progressed, Picasso adopted a more angular vocabulary in his depictions of Dora, abstracting and attacking her form. Created in created in 1942, Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar) was a prime example of Picasso’s later depiction of Dora Maar.

Pablo Picasso's Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar) was sold to Xin Li, deputy chairman of Christie's Asia, who bought it for her telephone client

The painting had been guaranteed to be sold for a minimum price before the sale began. Even though it was the blockbuster lot of the sale, the bidding was not intense as expected. It was knocked down for £17m, after several bid increments, and sold for £19.3m (US$25.4m) to Xin Li, deputy chairman of Christie's Asia, who bought it for her client.

The third top lot fell to Drei Pferde by German expressionist Franz Marc (1880-1916), carrying a presale estimate of £2.5m - 3.5m. The gouache on card depicting three horses was created by the artist in 1912. It is among one of the most accomplished of Marc’s series of horses made in the last years before the First World War. During that time, he moved increasingly towards complete abstraction.

Adrien Meyer, Co-Chairmen of the Impressionist and Modern Art

Franz Marc's Drei Pferde was sold for a record £15.4m

It sparked a prolonged bidding from room bidders and telephone bidders. With an opening bid of £1.8m, the lot was hammered down at £13.5m and sold for a record £15.4m (US$20.2m) to the telephone bidder represented by Adrien Meyer, Co-Chairmen of the Impressionist and Modern Art.

Top three lots

Claude Monet (1840-1926). La Gare Saint-Lazare, vue extérieure.

Lot no.: 25B
Painted: 1877
Size: 60.4 x 80.2 cm

  • Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris.
  • Museum Folkwang, Essen, by 1912.
  • Galerie Georg Caspari, Munich.
  • Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, by 1924.
  • Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York, by whom acquired from the above, on 8 November 1926.
  • Mrs Huddleston Rogers, New York, by whom acquired from the above, on 14 December 1942.
  • Mr & Mrs Paul Peralta-Ramos, New Mexico, circa 1970.
  • Acquavella Galleries Inc., New York.
  • Acquired from the above by the late owners in 1985.

Estimate On Request
Hammer price: £22,000,000
Price realised: £24,983,750

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Femme dans un fauteuil (Dora Maar).

Lot no.: 20B
Painted: 1942
Size: 92 x 73 cm

  • The artist's estate.
  • Jacqueline Roque Picasso, Mougins, by descent from the above, until 1986.
  • Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (no. 018042).
  • Galerie Beyeler, Basel (no. 11003).
  • Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 26 June 1990, lot 54.
  • Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

Estimate on Request
Hammer price: £17,000,000
Price realised: £19,358,750

Franz Marc (1880-1916). Drei Pferde.

Lot no.: 14B
Painted in 1912
Size: 33.5 x 47.5 cm

  • Karl Ernst Osthaus collection, Folkwang Museum, Hagen, a gift from the artist in 1912.
  • Folkwang Museum, Essen, by whom acquired from the Osthaus family, in 1922.
  • Confiscated from the above in 1937 as ‘entartet’ and deposited at the Depot Schloß Schönhausen, Berlin, in 1938.
  • Hildebrand Gurlitt, Hamburg, by whom acquired from the above on 21 March 1941.
  • Anonymous sale, Kunstkabinett Roman Norbert Ketterer, Stuttgart, 9 November 1951, lot 1806.
  • Kurt H. Grunebaum, New York, by whom acquired at the above sale, and thence by descent to the present owners.

Estimate: £2,500,000 - 3,500,000
Hammer price: £13,500,000
Price realised: £15,421,250

Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s London
Sale: Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
Sale date: 2018/6/20
Lots offered: 45
Sold: 38
Unsold: 7
Sold by lot: 84%
Sale total: £128,081,750