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Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Evening – Online pt 3

July 29, 2020
Pablo Picasso - Tete de Femme Endormie

Pablo Picasso – Tete de Femme Endormie

Wrapping up the three-part evening, Sotheby’s offered up a modest selection of Impressionist & Modern works; we were expecting 32 lots to be offered, but only 26 materialized, as 6 lots were withdrawn – that’s nearly 20% of the sale!

Wifredo Lam - Omi Obini

Wifredo Lam – Omi Obini

That said, things got off to a hot start with 8 of the first 10 lots topping the high end of their estimate. After that, things took a turn for the worse with most of the sold lots selling below their estimate range (not to mention all the BIs or withdrawals). The high for the evening came at lot 14, but it was guaranteed with an irrevocable bid prior to the sale – Picasso’s Tête de Femme Endormie. The work, which has been in private hands since 1962, hammered inside its expected range at $9.6M ($11.2 w/p) on a $9-12M estimate. Taking second was Wifredo Lam’s Omi Obini (lot 8) which was expected to bring between $8-12M and just made the mark as it hammered at $8.2M ($9.6M w/p). Rounding out the top lots we had a work by Remedios Varo (lot 4), which impressively topped it’s estimate of $2-3M, when it hammered at $5.2M ($6.1M w/p)… that work last sold in 1988 through Christie’s in New York – there was no estimate provided but made an impressive $385K (I cannot be certain, but that appears to have been an auction record for the artist at that time)… this time around, it was definitely an auction record for the artist.

Remedios Varo - Armonia

Remedios Varo – Armonia

There were not many overly impressive results… just one lot really. A work by Frida Kahlo, estimated at just $400-600K, sparked a bit of a bidding war which saw the work climb to a $2.2M hammer ($2.6M w/p). The handful of unsold lots included works by Tamayo ($1.2-1.8M), Chagall ($3-4M), Giacometti ($2.8-3.5M), and Buffet ($800K-1.2M)… accounting for 15% of the sale (4 of 26 works).

The 22 sold lots (85%) totaled $53.6M before you add in the premiums… the sale estimate was $55.8-77.6, so they were a bit short – add in the premiums and that bumps it to $62.7M, so that feels a bit better but not what you’d expect for an evening sale… Between the three sales, the evening saw a grand total of $363M including the premiums and they were expecting between $262.7-368.3M, so really not too bad when all was said and done, especially given the current situation.