Vincent van Gogh, Laboureur dans un champ, 1889, oil on canvas, which sold for $81.3 million.
The run of November sales in New York began with a $479.3 million Impressionist and modern art evening auction at Christie’s, where the total beat a pre-sale high estimate of $476 million (and crushed the low estimate of $360 million). The sell-through rate was a solid 88 percent by lot, with just eight of the 68 lots failing to find buyers.
The total was the second-highest haul ever achieved at an Imp-Mod sale, bested only by a $491.4 million auction at Christie’s in November 2006, when Oprah Winfrey purchased Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912) for $88 million, making it the fourth most expensive work ever sold at auction at the time. It was one of four works by Klimt in that year’s sale from the Bloch-Bauer family, and that bundle alone netted $192 million.
But even without an estate of such firepower, the sale tonight nearly bested an historic moment in Christie’s lore. “Are we slightly frustrated that did not beat that sale? Sure!” Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti told ARTnews after the sale, with a laugh. “But we are pleased with the result.”
When asked whether he thought ahead of time that the sale would be strong enough to command such bidding, Cerutti said, “We’re not playing the game of predicting—obviously it’s a strong result, but we’re always looking for the best.”...MUCH MORE