Results: Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art

On Tuesday Christie’s held its New York Impressionist and Modern Art Sale. We already know of the auction record price of $106.5 million including buyers premium for the Picasso, but what about the rest of the sale, which included additional property from the Brody collection?

The sale offered 69 lots with 56 selling for a buy through rate of 81%. The evening sale totaled $335.55 million including buyers premium. Of course nearly a third of that came from the Picasso. Other notable sales were Giacometti works taking the number 2, 3 and 4 spots selling for $20.8 million, $25.8 million and $53.3 million (see image). All three Giacometti pieces beat the high estimate. I guess the previous auction record price earlier this year helped with the Giacometti results. Picasso also had three other pieces in the top ten. All top ten buyers were listed as anonymous.

Christie’s Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie’s Americas stated

This was a stellar night for Christie’s and for the art market. The sale was led by exceptional prices for works by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Henri Matisse from the Brody Collection, one of the greatest private collections to come to market. In addition, we witnessed great depth of bidding and strong results for important works from other American and European collections, including additional paintings by Picasso and works by Giacometti and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. We are honored to have been entrusted with so many remarkable works this season, and we are delighted to have delivered such positive results, including three new world auction records for Picasso, Georges Braque, and Jean-François Raffaelli.”

The star lot of the evening, and the most anticipated work to come to market from private hands in the last decade, was Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, a sensuous and stunning masterpiece from Picasso’s celebrated 1932 series of paintings depicting his muse and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. Referred to as the “lost” 1932 Picasso because it had never before been published in color, Nude Green Leaves, and Bust was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Brody in 1950 for $17,000 from the art dealer Paul Rosenberg. It had been exhibited in public only once since its purchase, at a 1961 exhibition sponsored by the UCLA Art Council. At the auction, eight bidders competed for the Brody Picasso, as Christie’s lead auctioneer and Honorary Chairman Christopher Burge started the bidding at the $58 million mark. Mr. Burge took bids from within the saleroom and on the phone before the competition settled down to two bidders at the $88 million mark and a one-on-one battle ensued. Finally, at 7:32pm – nine minutes after the bidding open – the final bid was hammered down and a new world record for the most expensive artwork at auction was sealed at $106,482,500.

—Todd Sigety


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