The winter-opening sale of Christie’s in New York performed modestly on Monday. Focusing on Impressionist and Modern arts, the sale clocked a total $191.9 million in sales. However, excluding the buyer’s premium, the actual sale was of $162 million. This figure was at the middle of the pre-sale estimates that ranged between $138 and $203.1 million. The highest figure seen at the auction stood at $19.6 million.
While the auction could be called a modest success, it was quite a drop from the season-opening auction of Christie’s last year, which fetched a total of $279.3 million. Still, of the 58 artworks that were put up on auction, 52 found their buyers. 41 of these works were sold for over a million dollars, while 4 were sold for $10 million+.
The sale saw a variety of works getting their buyers, some predictable while others surprising. Surrealist artist Magritte saw four of his works getting auction. Among them, his Le seize septembre (1957) was hammered (with fees) at $19.6 million, becoming the highest-fetched price of the evening. Umberto Boccioni’s bronze sculpture Forme Uniche della continuità nello spazio (Designed in 1913, sculpted in 1972) was sold at an impressive $16.2 million, setting a personal record for the artist. Yves Tanguy’s amazing Surrealist work titled Sans Titre was sold $1.76 million, bought by Willem Vedovi from Brussels.
Pablo Picasso was certainly a man of focus at the auction, as many of his works found new owners. His imaginative portrait of his lover, titled Femme dans un fauteuil, was sold for $13.3 million. Another of his work from 1968, titled Buste d’homme, went home for $9.36 million. One of his earliest works, Guitare pendue au mur, was sold at $1.22 million to an anonymous buyer.
The upcoming opening sale at Sotheby’s on Tuesday will tell whether the slow reception at Christie’s was an exception or the norm for the season.