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$50 million Monet “Waterlilies”? – Nah – It sold for $39 million – not your average “sofa-sized oil” – UPDATED with sale results

November 4, 2012

Lot 41. Claude Monet (1840-1926), Nymphéas, signed and dated ‘Claude Monet 1905′ (lower right), oil on canvas 34¾ x 38¾ in. (88.3 x 99.5 cm.), Painted in 1905.
Estimate: $30-50 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $39 million.

There are “sofa-sized oils” and there are “sofa-sized oils”  – the Monet waterlilies painting coming up at Christie’s November 7 Impressionist and Modern Art auction is definitely in the latter category.  The image is iconic, beautiful and perfectly scaled for your pied-à-terre.  It also carries the highest pre-sale estimate, $30-50 million.   Among the other highest estimated lots is a lovely and iconic plaster by Brancusi, Muse (lot 36, estimated at $10-15 million), and Wassily Kandinsky’s Studie für Improvisation 8 (lot 47, estimated at $20-30 million).  Two odd sculptures are among the top lots, Picasso’s arrogant/strutting Coq (lot 13, estimated at $10-15 million) and Alberto Giacometti La Jambe (The Leg, lot 53, estimated at 10-15 million).  The latter reminds me of chicken king Frank Perdue’s old marketing line: “Parts is parts.”  So here are the top five by estimate (a total of seven shown since three have the same estimate):

Lot 47. Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Studie für Improvisation 8, oil on card mounted on canvas 38 5/8 x 27½ in. (98 x 70 cm.) Painted in 1909.
Estimate: $20-30 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $20.5 million.

Lot 19. Joan Miro (1893-1983) Peinture (Femme, Journal, Chien), signed and dated ‘Miró. 1925.’ (lower left); signed and dated again ‘Joan Miró. 1925.’ (on the reverse), oil on canvas 36¼ x 28¾ in. (92 x 73 cm.) Painted in 1925.
Estimate: $12-18 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $12.2 million.

Lot 13. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Coq, numbered and stamped with foundry mark ’4/6 C.VALSUANI CIRE PERDUE’ (on the side of the base), bronze with brown patina, Height: 25½ in. (64.8 cm.) Conceived in 1932 and cast in the 1950s.
Estimate: $10-15 million. Bidding on this lot stopped at $9.2 million and it failed to sell.

Lot 36. Constantin Brancusi (1867-1957) Une muse, plaster, Height: 18 in. (45.7 cm.) Executed in 1912.
Estimate: $10-15 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $11.0 million.

Lot 53. Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) La Jambe, signed and numbered ‘Alberto Giacometti 3/6′ (on the top of the base); inscribed with foundry mark ‘Susse Fondeur. Paris’ (on the side of the base), bronze with brown and green patina, Height (including base): 85 13/16 in. (218 cm.) Conceived in 1947 and cast in 1958.
Estimate: $10-15 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $10 million. 

Lot 20. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Buste de femme, dated ’8.D.37.’ (lower right), oil on canvas 21¾ x 18 in. (55 x 46 cm.) Painted in Paris, 8 December 1937.
Estimate: $8-12 million. This lot sold for a hammer price of $11.6 million.

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