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Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Day Sale

December 10, 2020
young boy painitng at an easle

Renoir

At the end of last week, Christie’s New York presented an Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale, and I don’t think it went as well as they had hoped it would.  First of all, it was their 14th sale of the month and it was only December 4th; secondly, it was their second Impressionist and Modern-Day Sale in just two months…you think it’s just a little too much for potential buyers??

Multi colored man's face

Picasso

The top lot was a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir title Le petit peintre (Claude Renoir); it was estimated at $600 -900K and it just squeaked by the estimate when it hammered for $960K ($1.182M w/p).  Now I am sure the consignor was happy it made a little more than the estimate, but when I did a little further research, I saw that the last time it sold was at Sotheby’s in 1988 for $3.2M, so maybe the consignor wasn’t so happy after all.  Next was a work by Pablo Picasso titled Buste d’homme a la cigarette; a work on paper that sold for $820K ($1.014M w/p) on a $1 -1.5M estimate, so it needed the commission to just make the low end of the estimate. And rounding out the top three, was a work by Alfred Kubin titled Der letzte König that was estimated to make $400-600K and just beat the low estimate when it hammered at $420K ($525K w/p).

Drawing of a King on a throne

Kubin

Unfortunately, there were some major failures which led to the overall poor performance of the sale. First was a painting by Pierre Bonnard titled Raisins noirs et peches ou Panier de fruits that was estimated at $400-600K; it last sold in May 2001 for $885,750.  Also estimated at $400-600K was a work by Randolf Bauer titled Andante 3 – it failed to find a new home and was last sold in 2013 for $382K.  Another miss was a group of 68 miniature replicas and color reproductions in a leather case by Marcel Duchamps; it was also estimated at $400-600K and found no buyer.  A work by Marc Chagall titled Couple au Bouquet didn’t make it across the finish line with an estimate of  $350 -550K.  And lastly, two works by Salvador Dali didn’t make the cut either – Narcisse jeune endormi was estimated at $300-500K (sold in 2013 for $148.3K) and Projets de rideaux de scène et études préliminaires dit aussi “Grand dessin” which was estimated to bring $350-450K (last sold in 2007 for $360K).

Of the 132 works offered, 51 works were unsold, so just 61.4 % found new homes.  Of the works that found buyers… 18 were above the estimate, 29 were below and 34 were within.  The sale was estimated to make $14 – 19.9M and when all was done it only totaled $9.5M ($10.23M w/p), so it did not come close to the low estimate.

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