While February has been a rather quiet one in the art market, there was a sale that took place at one of the peripheral salerooms that caught our eye. Included in the sale was an impressive painting by Carl Moll which carried an estimate of $300-500K, and when we first discussed it in the gallery my opinion was that the work would sell in excess of $1M. (w/p = with the Buyer’s Premium)
Taking the top spot was Moll’s Weisses Interieur which sold for $4M ($4.76M w/p), crushing its $300-500K estimate … it was a beautiful work of art. Coming in a very distant second, was Jakob Schikaneder’s The Calm Sea, Nocturne which was expected to bring between $100-150K and sold for $275K ($347K w/p); and in third was a rather unimpressive Renoir of Roses that hammered at $240K ($302.4K w/p – est. $60-100K). Rounding out the top five were Yuri Ivanovich’s The Lemonade Stand at $72K ($91.7K w/p – est. $10-15K), and Gustave Klimt’s Dame Wittgenstein at $70K ($88K w/p – est. $50-80). So, four of the top five smashed their estimates.
There were a few additional works that performed well, among them were Neapolitan School (17th C.) Venus at the Forge of Vulcan that hammered at $37.5K ($47.3K w/p – est. $5-8K), Martin-Ferrières’ Place du Tertre sous la neige at $18K ($22.7K w/p – est. $4-6K), and Valentin de Boulogne’s Étude pour Le Martyre de Saint Procès et Saint Martinien at $62.5K ($78.8K w/p – est. $20-30K).
On the other side, there were a few works that did not generate interest, these included works by Circle of Frans Francken the Younger (est. $10-15K), Lionello Spada (est. $25-40K), and an Aristide Maillol bronze (est. $30-50K).
By the end of the 67-lot session, 60 works sold (89.6% sell-through rate), and the total take was $5.34M. On the surface, that was a very impressive total given the fact that the low end of their estimate range was $1.09M. What one needs to remember is that the Moll accounted for $4M (75%) of the sale’s total. Without that lot, they would have fallen just above the low end.
Of the 67 works, 22 were below, 17 within and 21 above their estimate ranges; this left them with an accuracy rate of 25.8% — which is not too bad.