The month’s first sale took place on the 1st, and I was a little surprised by the number of lots offered – just eight. Guess that is what you might call a curated sale; actually, the works all come from one collection! (unless otherwise noted, prices are hammer; w/p = with the Buyer’s Premium)
As expected, taking the top honors was van Gogh’s La Mousmé which carried a $7-10M estimate and hammered for $8.8M ($10.436M – w/p). George Seurat’s little drawing, La voile blanche, hammered at $3.8M ($4.59M – w/p – est. $2.5-3.5M). Third place was nabbed by Magritte when his Journal intime brought $3.1M ($3.75M – w/p – est. $2.5-3.5M … this same work was sold for $356K in 2002 – nice return).
Typically, we would round out just the top five, but we will give you all the results since there were only eight works in the sale. Henry Moore’s Two Sleepers in the Underground sold for $2.6M ($3.15M – w/p – est. $1.5-2.5M), while Lucien Freud’s Self-portrait made $1.8M ($2.19M – w/p – est. $1.8-2.5M). Then there was Matisse’s Nu couché (the largest work in the sale – 15 x 20 inches) which made $470K ($588K – w/p – est. $300-500K), August John’s Head of a Girl – $390K ($488K – w/p – est. $200-300K … it last sold in 1997 for $168K), and bringing up the rear was Jean-Louis Forian’s Au café at $72K ($90K – w/p – est. $50-70K … this work brought $64K in 2006).
By the end of the short session, of the eight works offered, all sold (100% sell-through rate), and the total take was $21.032M ($25.3M w/p). The presale estimate range was $15.85 – $22.87M; so, they almost reached the upper end, and with the buyer’s premium, they beat it. Four of the works sold within and four above their estimate ranges, leaving them with an accuracy rate of 50%! So this was quite a successful sale.