This evening in London, an auction at Christie’s divided into three sections—”Hidden Treasures: Impressionist & Modern Masterpieces from an Important Private Collection,” “Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale,” and “The Art Of The Surreal Evening Sale”—resulted in a total sale of $219.5 with a 82-percent sell-through rate. The evening kicked off with the sale of a statue by Aristide Maillol, Eve à la pomme (1899), for £187,500 (around $249,500). One of the top lots, Henri Matisse’s Danseuse assise sur une table, fond rouge (1942), failed to sale on an estimate of £4.5-£7 million ($6 million-$9.3 million).
“This is what Impressionism is really all about!” the auctioneer declared before the sale of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Sentier dans le bois (1874-1877) for £12.7 million ($14.6 million) against a £9.9-$13.9 million estimate. Paul Cézanne’s Nature morte de pêches et poires (1885-1877), the top lot from “Hidden Treasures: Impressionist & Modern Masterpieces from an Important Private Collection,” sold for £21.2 million ($28.2 million). Several lots from the first leg of the sale passed, including Claude Monet’s Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas (1916-1919) and Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche (1885), which was estimated at £8 million-£12 million ($10.7 million-$16 million). Other passes included Claude Monet’s Iris (1924-1925) and Kees van Dongen’s Madame veuve rose (1911-1942).
The Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale began with an Edgar Degas portrait of perhaps his most famed subject, ballerinas in studio. Titled Danseuses dans une salle d’exercice (Trois Danseuses) (1873), the work went for £4,178,750 ($5.6 million), nearly quadrupling its high estimate of £1,200,000 ($1.1 million).
The top lot, Paul Signac’s 1892 painting Le Port au soleil couchant, Opus 236 (Saint-Tropez), sold for £19.5 million ($25.9 million). That was followed by Gustave Caillebotte’s Chemin montant (1881) at £16.6 million ($22 million.) A few other pieces passed during this leg, including van Dongen’s Madame T (1892), Marc Chagall’s Le rêve du peintre (1980), and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Bergwaldstudie (1936).
Monet’s Au bord du fjord de Christiania (1895), which has been requested for the upcoming Monet: The Wild and the Tamed exhibition to be held at the Munch Museum in Oslo in 2021, sold for £5.3 million ($7 million), in the middle of its estimate range of £4.5-£6.5 million.
The final portion of the evening’s selection of Surrealist works featured sales of three works by Magritte. Le lieu commun (1964), which held the collection’s highest estimate at £15-£25 million, sold for £18.3 million ($21.2 million). Le pain quotidien (1942), estimated at £2 million-£3 million, sold for £3.3 million ($4.5 million). And La belle captive (1946) went for £2.1 million ($2.9 million).