Another teaser sale happened in late September when Sotheby’s offered a selection of mid to lower-level Impressionist and Modern works of art. While this was not an “important” sale, I thought it would be a good barometer of the market going into the fall season. (Unless otherwise noted, all prices are hammer. w/p = with the buyer’s premium)
Taking the top spot was a colorful landscape by Armand Guillaumin titled Crozant, la folie, le soir. The painting had been in a collection since the 1980s… it carried a $40-60K estimate and hammered at $65K ($81.9K w/p). There was a tie for second… Blanche Hoschedé-Monet’s Un Coin de Jardin (purchased back in 2005 for $25K) was expected to bring $30-50K, while Chagall’s Profil bleu du peintre pour les amis Cain (bought in 2018) carried a $40-60K estimate; both hammered at $55K ($69.3K w/p).
Rounding out the top five were a large Gustave Cariot and a smaller work by Ferdinand du Puigaudeau. The Cariot, titled Le Pont-Neuf, eté, 20 heures (est. $25-35K), brought $48K ($60.5K w/p); the Puigaudeau, titled Fille de l’artiste au bonnet bleu, crushed its $12-18K estimate when it sold for $45K ($56.7K w/p) – I have to admit, that was a surprise to me.
Several other works blew past their estimates; these included Stuart M. Armfield’s Prayer that made $12K ($15.1K w/p – est. $800-1.2K), Pissarro’s Country Scene with a House along a Road at $28K ($35.3K w/p – est. $12-18K), a Francois Gall at $5K ($6.3K w/p – est. $1-1.5K), Duilio Barnabe’s Figura made $16K ($20.2K w/p – est. $6-8K), and Jacques Martin-Ferrieres’s Bahia brought $22K ($27.7K w/p – est. $3-5K).
As always, a few works failed to find buyers. Sadly, the most expensive lot in the sale was among them – Henri Martin’s Bassin ouest du Parc de Marquayrol avec vue sur l’atelier d’Henri Martin (est. $120-180K). Maufra’s Le Vieux bateau, Morgat (est. $30-50K), Foujita’s Portrait (est. $30-50), and Brasilier’s Fenêtre le soir (est. $15-20K) were also among the non-starters.
By the end of the session, 111 works were offered, and 93 sold. That gave them a sell-through rate of 83.8%, which is respectable. The low end of their presale estimate range was $1.21M, and the hammer total was $1.24M ($1.57M w/p), so they just made it. Of the 93 sold works, 17 were below, 36 within, and 40 above their expected range; this left them with an accuracy rate of 32.4% — pretty good.