Christie’s Announces Global Livestreamed Modern Art Auction in October, Led by US$25m Cézanne’s Watercolour

Last month, Christie’s held its first-ever global live auction that took place in consecutive sessions in four major salerooms: Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York, totalling an impressive US$420.9m. Following the success of this four-city auction marathon, Christie’s announces an additional New York sale on top of the traditional New York Fall auctions. The new sale will be conducted live and live-streamed from Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries on 6 – 7 October 2020.

The star lot of the sale is Paul Cézanne’s Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier, a superlative watercolour still life from the collection of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. The still life is estimated in the region of US$25m.

Paul Cézanne’s Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier

ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century was presided over by four auctioneers

Auctioneer Adrien Meyer, Chairman of Global Private Sales, will conduct the auction in a room of specialists on phone banks. He will also be taking bids from phone bidding from salesrooms in London and Hong Kong, and online bidding via Christie’s live. It can avoid confusions that the four-auctioneer arrangement caused in the ONE sale where different auctioneers were relaying bids in their cities simultaneously.

Presented by Christie’s unified ‘20/21’ department, the new calendar will feature a mid-autumn marquee week of Evening and Day sales in New York ahead of the traditional November auctions, and a synchronised series of sales in London and Paris.

The hybrid-style new sale will be hosted by Auctioneer Adrien Meyer

Alex Rotter, Chairman of 20/21, remarked: ‘What we have witnessed over the past few months is an extremely robust art market, fuelled by global collectors who are keen to acquire remarkable objects and works of art. These collectors are happily making use of a wide range of platforms, they are buying works across categories, and they certainly are not glued to the conventional auction schedule. With this in mind, we decided to break with tradition to present a landmark sale that would offer top works from across the 20th and 21st Centuries on October 6.’

The October New York sales will be led by Paul Cézanne’s Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier, painted between 1900 and the artist’s death six years later. It is expected to fetch in the region of US$25m. Measuring 47.7 x 62.3cm, it belongs to a group of watercolours that represent the culmination of Cézanne’s lifelong study of painting.

The auction house described the work as the finest watercolour by the artist to come to auction in over thirty years

The work was acquired by the prominent French art dealer Ambroise Vollard and then passed through the hands of Alexandre Berthier, the fourth and final Prince of Wagram. It was featured in the first-ever show at New York’s MoMA in 1929. Four years later, it entered the esteemed family collection assembled by Edsel and Eleanor Ford. The painting occupied their collection until Eleanor’s death in 1976 when it was bequeathed to the private operating foundation that would become Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.

Edsel and Eleanor Ford

The Fords’ home in Grosse Pointe Shores stands today as a prime

Proceeds from the sale will be used to bolster Ford House’s endowment, allowing the Board of Trustees to ensure the preservation, restoration and care of the National Historic Landmark estate. The Ford House Board of Trustees wrote in a statement that ‘there are no plans to sell any other assets at this time; however, in accordance with Eleanor Ford’s intent that the estate be maintained for the community, the board will continue to evaluate the estate’s needs and its long-term fiscal health.’

A global tour of the work starts in early September, with viewings by appointment at Christie’s Hong Kong from 1- 4 September, Christie’s London from 9-11 September and New York in October.

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier
watercolour over pencil on paper
Created in: 1900-1906
Size: 47.7 x 62.3 cm
Estimate: in the region of US$25m

Auction details
Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: 20th Century Evening Sale
Sale date: 6 October 2020

Hong Kong
Date: 1 – 4 September 2020

Date: 9 – 11 September 2020

New York
Date: October 2020