The Sotheby’s & Christie’s London Spring Auction Preview: March 2021

The auction season is nearly upon us and both previews looked very strong at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s. I managed to see all the works of art over two long visits. Masks were worn and only art market professionals were allowed; which made for a lonely but awe-inspiring visit.

At Christie’s the highlights are plentiful, with an amazing Surrealist sale (Christies’s Olivier Camu claims it the best ever) showing masterworks by Magritte, Miro, Dominguez and Tanguy amongst others. The 20th Century sale is a new cross-category auction that mixes the best of Calder, Soulages, Picasso and Auerbach with the bright young stars of the future: including Lynette Yiadom-Boackye and Issy Wood. My gut says that the Surrealist sale at Christie’s will be the headline maker – so much quality on view in comparison with a rather sketchy and pandemic-hit 20th Century sale. The joy of posting a cross-category sale is that the departments need find less lots but those must be of a higher calibre making it a wonderful auction to preview. Amongst the Tanguy and the Magrittes were several aces including a fabulous Calder which may be the most brilliant mobile I have ever seen.

Over at Sotheby’s their cross-category evening sale includes a 15th Century Pollaiuolo, an Edvard Munch Linde Frieze piece and an early 1940s Arshile Gorky masterpiece. The Linde Frieze Munch is a true dyed-in-the-wool masterwork and so creepy in its composition: those ghostly eyes peering out of a long Nordic landscape. I loved the balance of the auction and Sotheby’s, as per usual, have the cream of the crop in their day sales with a couple of delightful Impressionist collections up for grabs.

Yet my favourite work is in the image above and is being sold in Paris this week – a Degas of quite staggering elegance. I doubt there will be a better mix of his two great periods – the composition of the early 1880s draughtsman, the colour of the later 1890s master. It is simply outstanding.

The sale dates and details are as follows:

Christie’s: 20th Century Evening Sale: Tuesday 23rd March (1pm GMT)

Christie’s: The Art of the Surreal: Tuesday 23rd March (1pm GMT)

Christie’s: Impressionist & Modern Art Day & Works on Paper Sale: Wednesday 24th March (12pm GMT)

Christie’s: Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale: Thursday 25th March (1pm GMT)

Sotheby’s (Paris): Art Impressionniste et Moderne Evening Sale: Thursday 25th March (4pm CET)

Sotheby’s: Modern Renaissance (A Cross Category Sale): Thursday 25th March (5pm GMT)

Sotheby’s: Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale: (Online) Closing Friday 26th March (12pm GMT)

Sotheby’s: Contemporary Art Day Sale: (Online) Closing Friday 26th March

I hope you enjoy the sales and please, if you are investing significant figures, do use an advisor.

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