Taking place later than usual the Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary sales will be packed into one week. Next week promises to be busy for dealers, advisors and collectors alike. The catalogues for Sotheby’s and Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Sales boast nearly 700 lots. That said, the market prefers quality over quantity and as ever the key works are in the Evening Sales. There is certainly a masterpiece or two from which to choose.
At Sotheby’s the highlight is a costly but very good Egon Schiele, Danae, (Sotheby’s, lot 27) which is offered at a 30m USD low estimate. The top price for a Schiele at auction is the amazing landscape of 1914, Hauser mit bunter Wasche, Vorstadt II, which was bought back in 2011 for nearly 40m USD.
A German-American artist called Llyonel Feininger is in the spotlight via a stunning work of 1910 entitled Fin de séance (Sotheby’s Lot 41). The playful, cartoonish, aspect of the work is in the mould of his Thyssen masterpiece The White Man and it deserves to sell albeit around the low estimate. Feininger’s later work is soaring at auction but it is these earlier, more idiosyncratic, works that see the best prices.
Emile Bernard’s Femme assise sur un canapé rose (Sotheby’s Lot 25) is perhaps the best piece under 500,000 USD and though small it is a real gem. Superb date (1887), great composition and all the hallmarks of the Nabis, albeit by an outsider that was more closely linked with the work of Gauguin and the Breton school.
Over at Christie’s there is a very good, though shopworn, Picasso titled Femme Assise Robe Bleu, from 1935 (Christie’s, lot 12A). This picture fetched 29m USD in London in 2011 and might just sell at the estimate of 35-50m USD. The era is hard to find and this has links to both his voluptuous early 30s works and his more visceral, dark, ‘Weeping woman’ cubist pictures. Aesthetically it is a challenging composition; which might put off non-museum collectors.
Lot 18 at Christie’s is a superb, early, Fernand Leger. These works are rarer and rarer and whilst the later pieces are wonderful it is a highlight to see a piece such as Nature morte aux elements mecaniques come to auction. At the relatively seductive estimate of 10m USD low estimate I think it deserves to make more – condition is key as they can show bad paint-loss and subsequent retouching due to bad storage in the 1910s, prior to Rosenberg’s influence.
There is a terrific Henry Moore sculpture at 2m USD low estimate in the latter part of the Christie’s sale (Upright Internal, lot 43A). The internal forms sculptures are amongst his finest works and show a real innovation that he lacks after the 1960s. I think it could be a wise buy at the low estimate as his prices go from strength to strength.
In the Day sales I would point to the Christie’s Day Sale Cover: a late but powerful and colourful Figure by Fernand Leger. Leger is an artist whose late work is as sought after as ever. New York was hugely influential in the late 40s and early 50s leading to many US clients feeling a bond between his work and the great city. Whilst they may not see the 50m USD price tags of some 1910s work there is no question that this Visage should make close to 1m USD. Over at Sotheby’s the inexpensive Dali (lot 316) would be my pick of the sale and it is worth keeping an eye on the Marina Picasso collection appearing on Thursday 18th May.
Enjoy the auctions and as ever, use an advisor to ensure that you get the best value for money and the best work for your specific collection.
Next week’s complete Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction schedule is as follows:
Monday, 15th May 2017
Christie’s, Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale (7pm)
Tuesday 16th May 2017
Christie’s, Impressionist and Modern Art Works on Paper Sale: (10am)
Christie’s, Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale: (1:30pm)
Sotheby’s, Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale: (7pm)
Wednesday 17th May 2017
Sotheby’s, Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale: (10am & 2pm)
Christie’s, Contemporary Evening Sale: (6:30pm)
Thursday 18th May 2017
Sotheby’s, ‘Picasso Man and Beast’: The Collection of Marina Picasso: (9:30am)
Christie’s Contemporary Morning Sale (10am)
Christie’s Contemporary Afternoon Sale (1:30pm)
Sotheby’s, Contemporary Evening Sale: (7pm)
Friday 19th May 2017
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Sale: (10am)