Starting the London sale week is Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sale. Out of 34 lots offered, three were withdrawn before the sale and 7 went unsold. Amongst the three top lots, only Homme et femme nus by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was sold. The painting became the leading lot of the sale, contributing £12.5m (US$15.6m) to a sale total of £36.4m (US$45.6m). Yet, the number still fell short of the pre-sale estimate of £64.2m to £89.8m (US$80.6m-112.8m).
Egon Schiele's Liegender Mädchenakt sold for £1.27m
The start of the sale seemed promising as the first lot– Egon Schiele's (1890 - 1918) Liegender Mädchenakt, was hammered down at £1.05m (£1.27m with premium), against its estimate of merely £200,000 - 300,000. However, the success of Schiele's piece did not seem to elicit excitement from the bidders.
Henri Matisse's Odalisque painting Le collier d’ambre, estimated at £5m - 8m, failed to sell
Henri Matisse (1869-1954)'s Odalisque painting Le collier d’ambre was originally one of the top three lots. Yet, there was a lack of interest in the painting and it failed to reach its low estimate of £5m. A source revealed that the painting might have been poorly cared for when looted by the Nazis and it was "over-restored" during its time in the Paul Rosenberg family after it was restituted, resulting in the lack of enthusiasm for the piece.
Pablo Picasso's Homme et femme nus realised £12.5m
Another highlight following Matisse's painting to go on the auction stage was Pablo Picasso's Homme et femme nus. The painting, a late work by Picasso, fetched a hammer price of £10.8m and realised £12.5m with buyer's premium. Although sold at a price just slightly higher than its pre-sale low estimate, this Picasso's work accounted for over one-third of the sale total and became the leading lot. It was sold to a client represented by Christie's Asia chairwoman, Rebecca Wei.
Fernand Léger's Femme dans un fauteuil, originally the top lot of the sale, remained unsold
The "hoped-to-be" star lot of the sale- Fernand Léger's (1881-1955) Femme dans un fauteuil, was also bought-in. The auction house offered the piece with an unpublished estimate of £25m. This dealt a crushing blow to the sale total.
With only 24 lots sold, 11 were hammered down for prices at or below their pre-sale low estimates. The sale delivered a sell-through rate of 77%. We will be keeping our eyes on Sotheby's Impressionist and modern art evening sale tomorrow, which is expected to be led by a 1908 Nymphéas painting by Monet that carries an estimate of £25m - 35m (US$31.9m - 44.6m). For more details about the painting, check out Monet’s 1908 Nymphéas Painting to Make Auction Debut at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
Top three lots
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Homme et femme nus
Lot no.: 6
Created in: 1968
Size: 162 x 129.8 cm
- Galerie Louise Leiris (Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler), Paris (no. 012899).
- Heinz Berggruen, Paris.
- Pace Gallery, New York (no. 4095), by whom acquired from the above.
- Acquired from the above by the present owner, in 1973.
Estimate: £10,000,000 - 15,000,000
Hammer price: £10,800,000
Price realised: £12,464,250
Yves Tanguy (1900-1955). L’Extinction des espèces II
Lot no.: 14
Created in: 1938
Size: 92 x 73 cm
- Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (no. ST. 999), by 1940.
- Patricia K. Matisse, New York, between 1955 and 1963.
- Pierre Matisse, New York, by descent from the above, in 1972.
- Maria-Gaetana 'Tana' Matisse, by descent from the above, in 1989 until 2001.
- The Pierre & Tana Matisse Foundation Collection, New York, by descent from the above.
- Blain Di Donna, New York.
- Acquired from the above, on 6 December 2012.
Estimate: £2,500,000 - 4,000,000
Hammer price: £2,600,000
Price realised: £3,131,250
Paul Signac (1863-1935). Venise. Le Rédempteur
Lot no.: 28
Created in: 1908
Size: 65.1 x 80.6 cm
- Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (no. 16846), by whom acquired directly from the artist, until at least 1914.
- Van Beuningen collection, Rotterdam & Switzerland, by 1914, and thence by descent, until at least 1982.
- Galerie Ivo Bouwman, The Hague, by 1985.
- Ann Kendall Richards, Inc., New York.
- Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners, on 17 July 1985
Estimate: £2,200,000 - 4,000,000
Hammer price: £1,900,000
Price realised: £2,291,250
Top lots that failed to sell
Fernand Léger (1881-1955). Femme dans un fauteuil
Lot no.: 8
Created in: 1913
Size: 81 x 100 cm
- Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris.
- Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris.
- Louis Carré Gallery, New York.
- Saidenberg Gallery, New York.
- Sidney Janis Gallery, New York (no. 8857).
- Richard Feigen Gallery, New York (no. 15430-D).
- Private collection, France.
- Galerie Beyeler, Basel (no. 7831), by whom acquired from the above, on 29 June 1973.
- Acquired from the above by the present owner, in March 1974.
Estimate on request (with an unpublished estimate of £25m)
Henri Matisse (1869-1954). Le collier d’ambre.
Lot no.: 5
Created in: 1937
Size: 61.7 x 45.4 cm
- Paul Rosenberg & Co., Paris & Bordeaux, by 1937.
- Seized from the National Bank of Commerce and Industry, Libourne, on 28 April 1941.
- Transferred by order of the Devisenschutzkommando to the Jeu de Paume, Paris, on 5 September 1941.
- Included in Exchange #18 between the Einstatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg and Gustav Rochlitz, on 21 May 1942.
- Sold by Gustav Rochlitz to Isidor Rosner, Paris.
- M. Nicolas Karjensky, Galerie d’Art Cardo, by whom acquired in 1942.
- M. Albert Dauré, Perpignan, by whom acquired from the above, until at least 1962.
- Anonymous sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 1 November 1978, lot 50A.
- Lefevre Fine Art, London (no. 8585), by whom acquired from the above.
- Marvin M. Mitchelson, Los Angeles.
- Private collection, by 1982.
- The heirs of Paul Rosenberg.
Estimate: £5,000,000 - 8,000,000
Auction house: Christie's London
Sale: Impressionist and Modern Art Evening sale
Date: 18 June 2019
Lots offered: 34
Sale by lots: 71%
Sale total: £36,413,750