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Chumming the waters with a $30 million Kandinsky

August 29, 2012

WASSILY KANDINSKY (1866-1944)
Studie für improvisation 8
Painted in 1909 in Murnau
oil on cardboard laid down on canvas
38 5/8 x 27 ½ in. (98 x 70 cm.)
Estimate: $20,000,000-30,000,000

Nothing shakes off the late summer torpor quite like a shot of art market adrenaline – this dose courtesy a Christie’s announcement about the upcoming sale of a Kandinsky, estimated to sell at $20-30 million. From the Christie’s press release:

Widely recognized for its significance to the advancement of abstract art, the work is a fully realized study for the last of the eight numbered paintings Kandinsky created in 1909 as part of his pioneering series he called “Improvisations.”  Estimated at $20-30 million, the mystical scene of a conquering hero wielding a golden sword has the potential to set a new record price for any work by the artist at auction.  The current record of $20.9 million was set in 1990.

“Study for improvisation 8” is offered from the collection of the Volkart Foundation, a charitable trust founded by Volkart Brothers, a prominent Swiss commodities trading firm established in 1851.  Since 1960, the painting has been on loan from the Foundation to the Kunstmuseum Winterthur in Switzerland.  Over the years, it has been featured in major museum shows organized by the Tate Modern, Kunstmuseum Basel, the Fondation Beyeler and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montréal, among others.  Proceeds from the sale of the painting will benefit the Foundation’s charitable programs.

… and Christie’s.

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