Led by Monet's "Nymphéas," one of the artist's seminal water
lilies paintings which sold for $27 million, the auction saw 89
percent of the 53 works on offer finding buyers and beat its low
estimate total of about $245 million.
While works at all levels sold well, bidding was measured and
the salesroom atmosphere somewhat muted, with most of the top
lots selling for below the pre-sale estimates.
Like the Monet, Picasso's "Portrait de femme (Dora Maar)," the
evening's second-highest priced work, fell short of
expectations, fetching $22,565,000 including commission.
Christie's had estimated both works to sell for $25 million to
$35 million. Estimates do not include commission of just over 12
A noteworthy exception was Modigliani's "Jeune homme roux assis,"
which fetched $17,637,000 after determined bidding drove the
portrait to half again the $8 million to $12 million estimate.
Christie's officials said the price illustrated that attractive,
or conservative, estimates can often be expected to drive a
"Tonight was clearly a testament to the incredible breadth in
our marketplace," said Brooke Lampley, head of Impressionist and
modern art at Christie's.
Lampley added the sale was marked by "bids from every part of
the world," with collectors from 36 countries having registered.
Asian buyers nabbed at least two of the sale's top 10 lots,
including "Nymphéas," in a category that was once the
near-exclusive purview of U.S. and European collectors.
Lampley said growing interest from Asians reflected "a growth in
the Asian (art) market generally," as well as the auction
house's relatively new presence in mainland China.
Other work commanding top prices included Wassily Kandinsky's "Strandszene,"
which carried a $16 million to $22 million estimate and sold for
$17.2 million, and Picasso's "Deux femmes et enfant," which
fetched just over $13 million on an estimate of $12 million to
The sales continue on Wednesday at Sotheby's, where
Impressionist and modern art offerings include Henri Matisse's
"La Séance du matin" ($20 million-$30 million) and Picasso's "Tête
de Marie-Thérèse," are estimated at $15 million-$20 million.
Both houses hold their sales focusing on the red-hot
contemporary art market next week.
(Editing by Ron Popeski)
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