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Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale Preview – Multi-Million Dollar Estimates – Quality? meh

April 3, 2012

Lot 5. Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), Joueur de cartes, watercolor on laid paper, 18 5/8 x 12 in. (46.7 x 30.5 cm.), Painted in 1892-1896. Estimate: $15-20 million. Hammer price $17 million or $19,122,500 with buyer’s premium.

UPDATE – Last night’s sale lacked energy to the point where one almost needed a transfusion just to stay awake.  The Cezanne opened at $11 million and made halting progress, the auctioneer announced he could sell the work when it hit $13.5 million, it finally made a hammer price of $17 million or $19,122,500 with the buyer’s premium.   One telephone bidder picked up three works: lot 12, Pierre Bonnard’s deadly dull Femme endormie (Estimate: $1.8 – 2.5 million, Hammer price: $1.2 million or $1,426, 500 with buyer’s premium), lot 23, Picasso’s Mousquetaire et nu assis (Estimate: $5-8 million, hammer price $3.7 million or $4,226,500 with buyer’s premium) and lot 24, Aristide Malliol’s Venus (sans collier) (Estimate: $600,000-800,000, hammer price $450,000 or $542,500 with buyer’s premium).

The May 1 evening sale of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie’s is not particularly inspiring.  The most intriguing lot is the Paul Cezanne watercolor of a card player, lot 5, which also carries the sale’s highest estimate, $15-20 million. The auction catalogue notes:

Cézanne’s series of five Card Players paintings, dating from the first half of the 1890s, have long been recognized as among the most important and very finest works he ever created. They have furthermore been counted among the greatest art works in the Western canon; Gustave Coquiot, who published the first biography of Cézanne in 1919, went so far to declare them “equal to the most beautiful works of art in the world” (quoted in op. cit., exh. cat., 2010, p. 15).

Six of the sale’s 32 lots are works by Picasso including these two:

Lot 3. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Le Repos (Marie-Thérèse Walter), signed ‘Picasso’ (lower left); inscribed and dated ‘Boisgeloup 17 mai XXXII’ (on the stretcher,)oil on canvas, 10¾ x 18 1/8 in. (27.3 x 46.3 cm.), Painted in Boisgeloup, 17 May 1932. Estimate: $5-7 million. Hammer price $8.75 million or $9,882,500 with buyer’s premium.

Lot 17. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Deux bus couchés, signed ‘Picasso’ (upper right); dated ‘2.3.68.’ (on the reverse), oil on canvas, 76¾ x 51¼ in. (195 x 130 cm.), Painted in Mougins, 2 March 1968. Estimate: $8-12 million. Hammer price $7.8 million or $8,818,500 with buyer’s premium.

There’s a serviceable Monet and a fairly awful Matisse still life.

Lot 11. Claude Monet (1840-1926), Les demoiselles de Giverny, signed and dated ‘Claude Monet 94’ (lower left), oil on canvas, 25½ x 39¼ in. (65 x 100 cm.), Painted in 1894. Estimate: $9-12 million. Hammer price $8.5 million or $9,602,500 with buyer’s premium.

Lot 13. Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Les Pivoines, signed ‘Henri. Matisse’ (lower left), oil on canvas, 25½ x 21¼ in. (65 x 54.6 cm.), Painted in Collioure, 1907. Estimate: $8-12 million. Hammer price $17 million or $19,122,500 with buyer’s premium.

We’ll see what Sotheby’s comes up with.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    April 4, 2012 3:51 PM

    That Monet – the Haystacks – Sotheby’s tried to sell that recently in Hong Kong, a selling exhibition…

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