28, "Laboreur dans un champ," by Vincent Van Gogh, oil on canvas, 19
7/8 by 25 1/2 inches, 1889
By Carter B. Horsley
important fall auction season got off to a start with the November 13,
2017 evening sale of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie's New
York that was highlighted by very fine masterpieces by Vincent Van Gogh
(1853-1890) and Fernand Léger (1881-1955) and members of the New York
sale total was $479,329,250, the second highest total for such a sale
in Christie's history. It was 88 percent sold by lot.
top-priced lot of the night was Vincent van Gogh’s Laboureur dans
un champ, executed in the year before his death. This richly
view from the window of the artist’s room in the asylum at Saint-Rémy
was completed in the late summer of 1889. It sold for $81,312,500
(including buyer’s premium), the second highest auction
price in history for the artist. The record price for a work by Van
Gogh still stands at $82,500,000, which was paid for Portrait du Dr.
Gachet (1890) at Christie’s in May 1990.
Detail of Lot 28
Van Gogh was one of a rich offering of
highlights, which began with the first lots in the sale - a
remarkable and museum-quality selection of New York Dada works from the
Boundaries collection that was
assembled with the guidance of renowned advisor Alain Tarica, who also
worked with Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and Hubertus and
Lot 4, "Danceuse," by
Gino Severini, gouache, watercolor, brush and black ink, black
conté crayon, white chalk,
corrugated cardboard, sequins and paper collage on paper, 40 1/2 by 28
5/8 inches, 1914
Detail of Lot 4
most spectacular work in this group is Lot 4, "Danceuse," by Gino
Severini (1883-1966), the great Futurist. It is a gouache, gouache,
watercolor, brush and black ink, black conté crayon, white chalk,
corrugated cardboard, sequins and paper collage on paper. It
measures 40 1/2 by 28 5/8 inches and was created in 1914. It is
in superb condition and is an astounding work that qualifies as a world
5, "Les forces mécaniues de l'amour en mouvement," by Jean Crotty, oil
on glass, wood, newsprint, tin, paper, wire and metal tubing
assemblage, 23 3/4 by 29 1/4 inches, 1916, left; Lot 6, "Radiation de
deux seuls éloignés," oil, gold paint, string, was, plastic, glass
beads and tinfoil assemblage on canvas, 28 3/4 by 19 3/4 inches, 1916-20
Detail of Lot 5
Detail of Lot 6
less sensational are Lots 5 and 6.
this group, new world auction record prices were set for works
by Jean Crotti (1878-1958) (Lot 5, "Les forces mécaniques de l'amour en
mouvement") and Suzanne Duchamp (1889-1963) (Lot 6, "Radiation de deux
as well as a world auction record
for a sculpture by Man Ray.
9, "Improvisation mit Pferden (Studie fur Improvisation 20), by Wassily
Kandinsky, oil on canvas, 28 by 39 inches, 1911
top price among the Beyond Boundaries
works, however, was achieved by Lot 9, Improvisation mit
Pferden (Studie für Improvisation 20), an 1911 oil on canvas by
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). It had an estimate of $9,000,000
to $15,000,000. It sold for $12,687,500.
14, "Contraste de formes," by Fernard Léger, oil on burlap, 36 3/8 by
28 7/8 inches, 1913
second highest price on the night was realised when Fernand Léger’s
Contraste de formes from
1913, sold for $70,062,500, easily eclipsing
the previous world auction record for the artist - $39,241,000, which
was set in 2012. It measures 36 3/8 by 28 7/8 inches. Offered for
the first time at auction, this
ground-breaking painting of the early 20th century came from the
property of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, with proceeds
from its sale going towards the foundation’s philanthropic mission.
18, "Les régates de Nice," by Henri Matisse, oil on canvas, 31 7/8 by
25 5/8 inches, 1921, far right, above a very crowded bank of auction
workers manning the phones, with works by Picasso, Miro, Léger and
Magritte at left
Van Gogh masterwork was one of a number of stunning paintings
offered from The Collection of Nancy Lee and Percy R. Bass. They
included Les régates de Nice,
a 1921 painting by Henri Matisse
depicting two young women gazing at the sea from their apartment on the
French coast, which sold for $16,625,000.
31, Peinture," by Joan Miro, oil on canvas, 51 1/8 63 3/4 inches, 1933
superb work from the Bass collection is Lot 31, a very luminous
abstract 1933 oil on canvas by Joan Miro (1893-1983) that measures 51
3/4 by 63 3/4 inches. It has an estimate of $18,000,000 to
S25,000,000. It sold for $20,375,000. The night’s combined total
for the paintings from the Bass
Collection was $143,432,500, with further works to be offered over the
freshness of stellar collections was one of a number of strong
themes in the sale.
27, "La Tour Eiffel," by Robert Delaunay, oil on canvas, 31 7/8 by 25
5/8 inches, 1928
selection offered from The Collection of
Stanford Z. Rothschild, which included works by Monet, Pissarro, Redon
and Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) whose bright, very colorful and
stunning 1928 rendition of the Eiffel Tower that he first depicted in
1910. It has an estimate of only $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.
It sold for $3,372,500.
49, "Misia et Valloton a Villeneuve," by Edouard Vuillard, oil on board
laid down on cradled panel, 27 5/8 by 20 1/8 inches, 1899
group of paintings were consigned by Egyptologist William Kelly Simpson
also attracted deep bidding. The highest price achieved was for Édouard
Vuillard’s superlative Misia et
Vallotton, an 1899 oil on canvas that measures 27 5/8 by 20 1/8
inches. It has been widely exhibited and reproduced. It has
an estimate of $7,000,000 to $10,000,000. It sold for $17,750,000, about $10 million
higher than the artist's previous world auction record.
50, "Autoportrait a la canne et au canothier," by Vuillard, oil on
board laid down on canvas, 14 1/8 by 11 1/8 inches, 1892
Vuillard from the Simpson collection is Lot 50," a charming small
self-portrait from 1892 that measures 14 1/8 by 11 1/8 inches. It
has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $5,262,500.
The total for the six works from the
collection was $28,162,500.
47, "Antique et oeillets," by Henri Matisse, oil on canvas, 24 by 19
3/4 inches, 1928
Lot 47 is a nice still life by
Henri Matisse (1869-1954) of a statue of naken women's torso on a
table. An oil on canvas, it measures 24 by19 3/4 inches and was
painted in 1928. It once belonged to Abby Aldrich
Rockefeller. It has very modest estimate of $1,500,00 to
$2,500,000. It sold for
33, La blouse verte brodee," by Henri Matisse, oil on panel, 6 3/8 by 8
5/8 inches, 1936
Lot 33 is a small but very charming oil
on panel by Matisse of a woman in an embroidered green shirt. It
measures 6 3/8 by 8 5/8 inches and was painted in 1936. It has an
estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $3,125,500.
Lot 45, Three apples,
by Paul Cezanne, oil on canvas, 7 3/8 by 15 inches, 1880
45 is a very nice painting of three apples on a plate by Paul Cezanne
(1839-1906). An oil on canvas, it measures 7 3/8 by 15 inches and
was painted circa 1880. It has an estimate of $5,000,000 to
$7,000,000. It sold for
12, "L'empire des lumineres," by René Magritte (1898-1967), is a 1949
canvas that measures 19⅛
by 23⅛ inches. It once belonged to Nelson Rockefeller. It has an
estimate of $14,000,000 to $18,000,000. It sold for $20,562,500, an auction record
drawing a burst of applause.
Lot 13, "Indische
Tanzerin," by Emil Nolde, oil on canvas, 34 1/4 by 39 5/8 inches, 1917
auction record was by Lot 13, Indische
Tänzerin, by Emil Nolde (1867-1956), a 1917 oil on canvas that
measures 34 1/4 by 39 5/8 inches. It was included in early
exhibitions at the Detroit Institute of Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum in
Hartford and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It has a very
modest estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $5,262,500.
auction has some good Picassos.
39, "Femme accroupie (Jacqueline)," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 57
1/2 by 44 7/8 inches, 1954
39 is a large portrait of Jacqueline that Picasso (1881-1973) painted
in 1954. It measures 57 1/2 by 44 7/8 inches. It was being
offered at auction for the first time. It has an estimate of
$20,000,000 to $30,000,000. It
sold for $36,875,000.
Lot 3, "Le
Repos (Marie-Thérèse Walter)," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 10 1/4
by 18 1/4 inches, 1932
beautiful painting in the auction is Lot 3, "Le Repos (Marie-Thérèse
Walter)," by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), an oil on canvas from 1932 that
measures 10 1/4 by 18 1/4 inches. It was sold at Christie's
November 6, 2002 for $3,089,500 when it had an estimate of $2,500,000
to $3,500,000. At the spring 2012 evening auction at Christie's,
it had an estimate of $5,000,000 to
$7,000,000 and was the backcover illustration of the catalogue.
It then sold for
$9,882,500 to an American private collector.
The catalogue notes that "Of all of these outstanding
Repos, with its innovative landscape composition is among the most
intimate. A fluid and deeply personal work, the simple lines
and fields of color translate the great tranquility of her sleep.
Marie-Thérèse was not merely a model but a true inspiration
and the portraits Picasso painted of her during the spring of 1932 are
visual declarations of his love The splendor of these
paintings was most recently heralded again in the acclaimed Gagosian
Gallery exhibition Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L'Amour Fou, which
focused on the relationship between the two lovers and the incredible
string of works elicited by their raptuours affair....It is exclusively
a lover's view, seen with a lover's proximity. The face fills
the composition, creating an intense impression of the intimacy between
artist and sitter: it reads as a pillow-side view of Marie-Thérèse with
her features so near and all context absent other than a portion of the
surface where her head rests."
At this auction, the painting has an estimate of $10,000,000 to
$15,000,000. It sold for
Lot 26, "Matinee sur la
Seine," by Claude Monet, oil on canvas, 35 1/8 by 36 3/8 inches, 1897
Lot 26, Matinée sur la Seine,
is an 1897 oil on canvas by Claude Monet (1840-1926). It measures
35 1/8 by 36 3/8 inches and has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern
Art in 1960 and the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1985. It is one of
a series of 22 canvases on the subject. It has an estimate of
$15,000,000 to $25,000,000. It
sold for $23,375,000.
de soleil à Lavacourt," by Claude Monet, oil on canvas,
21 ¼ by 31 7/8 inches, 1880
most beautiful, or at least the most impressionist,
Monet in this auction was Lot 52, "Coucher de soleil à
Lavacourt," a 21 1/4-by-31 7/8-inch oil on canvas. Executed
in 1880, it has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 at Christies in
the fall of 2004 when it sold for $2,247,500. It had sold for
$1,872,500 at Christie's,
November 8, 1999 when it had an estimate of $1,500,000 to
$2,500,000. At this auction, it has an estimate of $5,000,000 to
$7,000,000. It failed to sell.