Magritte and Boccioni share the limelight in New York

Four Impressionist and Modern Art auctions across 20th Century total $230,040,000

The Impressionist and Modern Art sales during 20th Century season in New York totalled $230,040,000. They opened with the evening sale, which realised $191,911,500 — selling 90 per cent by lot and 96 per cent by value.  

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The 13 works from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, renowned Chicago collectors and philanthropists, included the top lot of the night: René Magritte’s Le seize septembre (1957), which rocketed past its high estimate to sell for $19,570,000 (including buyer’s premium).

René Magritte (1898-1967), Le seize septembre, painted in 1957. Oil on canvas. 63¾ x 51½  in (162 x 130.2  cm). Sold for $19,570,000 on 11 November 2019 at Christie’s in New York

René Magritte (1898-1967), Le seize septembre, painted in 1957. Oil on canvas. 63¾ x 51½ in (162 x 130.2 cm). Sold for $19,570,000 on 11 November 2019 at Christie’s in New York

Umberto Boccioni’s Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio (Unique Forms of Continuity in Space) — the first time in almost 50 years that a Boccioni cast had come to market — inspired a prolonged bidding battle before the bronze was won at $16,165,000 (against a high estimate of $4.5 million) — a new world auction record for the artist. 

Completing the top three was Pablo Picasso’s Femme dans un fauteuil (Françoise), which realised $13,327,500. Painted between 29 December 1948 and 1 January 1949, the work is a celebration of the artist’s lover, Françoise Gilot, who was pregnant with their daughter Paloma at the time. It was one of nine Picasso works to feature in the sale.

Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio (Unique Forms of Continuity in Space), conceived in 1913 and cast in 1972. Bronze. Length 35  in (89  cm). Sold for $16,165,000 on 11 November 2019 at Christie’s in New York

Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio (Unique Forms of Continuity in Space), conceived in 1913 and cast in 1972. Bronze. Length: 35 in (89 cm). Sold for $16,165,000 on 11 November 2019 at Christie’s in New York

Collections performed well, with strong results for additional paintings owned by the Alsdorfs. Anémones au miroir noir, a 1919 still life by Henri Matisse, fetched $5,269,000 (against an estimate of $3 million); Pfeil zum Kreis  by Wassily Kandinsky (1930) realised $3,375,000; and Picasso’s La Madone à la guirlande, a rare 1904 gouache and watercolour on paper, sold for $2,895,000. Works sold in subsequent sales took the collection total to $46,860,250. 

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Jardin et poulailler chez Octave Mirbeau, Les Damps, painted in 1892. Oil on canvas. 28⅞ x 36¼  in (73.3 x 92  cm). Sold for $10,263,000 on 11 November 2019 at Christie’s in New York

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Jardin et poulailler chez Octave Mirbeau, Les Damps, painted in 1892. Oil on canvas. 28⅞ x 36¼ in (73.3 x 92 cm). Sold for $10,263,000 on 11 November 2019 at Christie’s in New York

The Collection of Terry Allen Kramer, the Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and ‘Grand Dame of Palm Beach’, also proved to be popular among buyers. 

Camille Pissarro’s Jardin et poulailler chez Octave Mirbeau, Les Damps (1892) comfortably passed its high estimate before selling for $10,263,000; Picasso’s Buste d’hommewhich had not been seen on the market for more than 25 years, realised $9,355,000; and Salvador Dalí’s Naissance de l'ameublement paranoïaque, a preparatory drawing for his iconic Mae West Lips Sofa, passed its high estimate to sell at $1,095,000. At the end of the Impressionist & Modern Art sales in New York, the collection total had moved to $27,619,250.

Surrealism proved to be a major draw, with impressive evening sale results for works by Dalí, Tanguy and Magritte, including Le Sabbat  from 1959, which realised $9,922,500. 

Other impressive results included Tamara De Lempicka’s Les jeunes filles  from circa 1930, which realised $5,269,000 — more than twice its low estimate; and Renoir’s Buste de jeune fille au ruban bleu, which inspired considerable interest and sold for $1,455,000.

The Works on Paper auction and the Day Sale, which both took place on 12 November, realised a combined $36,354,750 (£28,313,669). The top lot in the Impressionist and Modern Art Works on Paper Sale was Salvador Dalí’s Femmes aux papillons, which sold for $939,000. The highest price achieved in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale was also for a Dalí — Décor pour Roméo et Juliette  (1942), which fetched $1,119,000.

The online auction of Picasso Ceramics was 100 per cent sold and realised a total of $1,774,750. Three separate lots sold for $106,250, the top price achieved in the sale.