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$119,922,500 Million Scream leads Sotheby’s New York $330,568,550 million Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art

April 14, 2012

 Lot 20. Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is seen as it is hung for display at Sotheby’s Auction Rooms in London, Thursday, April 12, 2012. The picture made with pastels is one of four versions of the composition, and dates from 1895, it will be auctioned in the Impressionist and Modern Art Sale in New York on May 2, with an estimated price of $80 million. AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth.

UPDATE – One of four versions of Edvard Munch’s iconic painting The Scream sold last night at Sotheby’s in New York for $119,922,500 million ($107 million hammer price + buyer’s premium), easily becoming the world’s single most expensive work sold at auction (including a world record buyer’s premium) … at least, for now.    At 7:45PM, bidding on Lot 20 opened  at $40 million and auctioneer Tobias Meyer steered multiple bidders at $1 million increments for a tug of war that lasted more than 12 minutes (here’s a YouTube video, thanks to the Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Crow for tweeting this – bidding reached $100 million at 8:16).  After an initial flurry, the number of bidders dropped to two, both on the telephone.  Sotheby’s employee Charles Moffett relayed the winning $107 million bid.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is auctioned at Sotheby’s Wednesday, May 2, 2012, in New York. The image is one of four versions created by the Norwegian expressionist painter. Three are in Norwegian museums. The one at the Sotheby’s auction is the only one left in private hands and is being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of the artist. The hammer price was $107 Million with the buyers premium is $119,922, 500. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II.

The reminder of the auction was equally strong and the Forstmann works, including the Picasso Dora Maar portrait subject to some negative publicity just the day before, achieved a hammer price of $26 million, just beyond the mid-point of it $20-30 million estimate (The Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Crow said cheers erupted in one of the auction room’s skyboxes indicating where Forstmann family members were sitting).

The online catalogue has been updated to include dale results and Sotheby’s issued a press release trumpeting the results.

UPDATE – A little under 36 hours before the start of Sotheby’s much anticipated sale of Impressionist & Modern art, out tumbles a story about one of the major works from the Forstmann collection. Apparently, Lot 4, a Picasso Dora Maar portrait estimated at $20-30 million was damaged while at Acquavella Galleries in New York during a 2008 exhibition. Will this affect the sale’s outcome? Don’t know, but interesting bit of timing that we only learn of this late in the game. Wonder who leaked this? According to Bloomberg:

Sotheby’s “condition report” for the work, which the auction house makes available upon request, said it’s “in very good condition.”

The article goes on to say:

The damage isn’t disclosed in the catalog for the auction, which includes a version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

“There was a small tear that was repaired,” Terrence Mahon, who restored the Picasso for Forstmann, said in an interview. “The actual amount of paint loss on this picture was minimal.”

Mahon also restored Stephen Wynn’s Picasso, “Le Reve,” after the casino mogul accidentally poked a hole in it with his elbow in 2006.

Diana Phillips, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman, said in a statement: “The restoration was extremely successful and ‘of the highest standard,’ as is clear in the condition report, which is how Sotheby’s discloses such information.”

ORIGINAL POST

The May auctions in New York will likely see a bevy of mind-boggling and budget-busting results, quite possibly led by an Edvard Munch The Scream, a top tier trophy painting coming up at Sotheby’s with a pre-sale estimate of $80 million.  But the Munch is not the only star on York Avenue.  In the ongoing death match between Sotheby’s and Christie’s, the former has come out on top in terms of quality offerings this go round. The Christies’s sale, aside from the Cezanne card player watercolor, is just tepid.

Sotheby’s, on the other hand, landed the Forstmann estate, which contains some impressive works.  The sale is rounded out with a lot of so-so Magrittes, several other Munchs of moderate interest and a rather winning Brancusi, among others. Complete sale catalogue here.

LOT 4, PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THEODORE J. FORSTMANN
PABLO PICASSO, 1881 – 1973, FEMME ASSISE DANS UN FAUTEUIL
Signed Picasso (upper left); dated 23 Octobre 41. on the stretcher
Oil on canvas, 36 1/2 by 28 3/4 in., 92 by 73 cm, Painted on October 23, 1941.
ESTIMATE $20-30 million. Hammer price $26 million or $29,202,500 including the buyer’s premium.

LOT 7, PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THEODORE J. FORSTMANN
CHAÏM SOUTINE, 1893 – 1943, LE CHASSEUR DE CHEZ MAXIM’S, Signed Soutine (lower left), Oil on canvas, 32 1/4 by 29 1/2 in., 82 by 75 cm, Painted circa 1925.
ESTIMATE $10-15 million. Hammer price $8.3 million or $9,378,500 including the buyer’s premium.

LOT 11, PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THEODORE J. FORSTMANN
JOAN MIRÓ, 1893 – 1983, TÊTE HUMAINE, Signed Miró. and dated 5-31. (lower left); titled on the reverse, Oil, wood, wire, sandpaper and thread on canvas
32 by 25 3/4 in., 81.3 by 65.4 cm, Executed in March, 1931.
ESTIMATE $10-15 million. Hammer price $13.2 million or $14,866,500 including the buyer’s premium.

LOT 30, PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
PABLO PICASSO, 1881 – 1973, TÊTE DE FEMME (PORTRAIT DE FRANÇOISE), Dated 15 Juin and 7.12/46 on the reverse
Oil on canvas, 21 5/8 by 15 in., 55 by 38 cm, Painted on June 15 and December 7, 1946.
ESTIMATE $4-6 million. Hammer price $6.1 million or $6,914,500 including the buyer’s premium.

LOT 43, PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, EUROPE
CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI, 1876 – 1957, PROMÉTHÉE, Inscribed C. Brancusi, Gilded bronze, Length: 7 in., 17.7 cm, Conceived and cast in an edition of four in 1911.
ESTIMATE $6-8 million. Hammer price $11.25 million or $12,682,500 including buyer’s premium.

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