Lots of multi-million lots!



The prestigious “Impressionist and Modern Art” evening sales in New York on 4, 5 and 6 May 2004 are some of the most sparkling events on the art calendar.

Christie’s kicks events off on 4 May 2004, with 39 lots. The most important lot on offer is a major work by Giorgio DE CHIRICO, Il grande metafiscio, owned by the MoMA. With an estimated hammer price of USD 7-10 million, we could well see a new record for the artist. Other than Claude MONET’s Paysage de printemps à Giverny (estimate: USD 4-6 million), works by modern artists will be fetching the highest prices. Among the most eagerly awaited pieces are Le rouge, le bleu, le bel espoir, by Joan MIRO (estimate: USD 4-6 million), Composition with Blue, Yellow, Red and Gray by Piet MONDRIAAN (estimate: USD 3-5 million) and Jeune Fille aux anémones sur fond violet by Henri MATISSE (estimate: USD 4-6 million).

TOP 10 auction paintings records (1987 – April 2004)ArtistWorkSale1 GOGH van Vincent (1853-1890)USD 75 000 000 : Portrait du Docteur Gachet 15/05/1990 (Christie’s, New-York)2 RENOIR Auguste (1841-1919)USD 71 000 000 : Au Moulin de la Galette (1876)17/05/1990 (Sotheby’s, New-York)3 RUBENS Peter Paul (1577-1640)GBP 45 000 000 : The Massacre of the Innocents (c.1608-1609)10/07/2002 (Sotheby’s, London)4 GOGH van Vincent (1853-1890)USD 65 000 000 : Portrait de l’artiste sans barbe (1889)19/11/1998 (Christie’s, New-York)5 CÉZANNE Paul (1839-1906)USD 55 000 000 : Rideau, cruchon et compotier (c.1893-1894)10/05/1999 (Sotheby’s, New-York)6 PICASSO Pablo (1881-1973)USD 50 000 000 : Femme aux bras croisés (1901-1902)08/11/2000 (Christie’s, New-York)7 PICASSO Pablo (1881-1973)FRF 300 000 000 : Les noces de Pierrette (1905)30/11/1989 (Binoche, Paris)8 PICASSO Pablo (1881-1973)USD 45 000 000 : Femme assise dans un jardin (1938)10/11/1999 (Sotheby’s, New-York)9 PICASSO Pablo (1881-1973)USD 44 000 000 : Le Rêve (1932)10/11/1997 (Christie’s, New-York)10 PICASSO Pablo (1881-1973)USD 41 000 000 : Nu au fauteuil noir (1932)09/11/1999 (Christie’s, New-York)

The following day, Sotheby’s has a real treat in store at the three sessions of its “Impressionist and Modern Art” auction. Top billing goes to the breaking up of the Whitney collection from 7 p.m. The star attraction will come early in the proceedings with lot number seven: Pablo PICASSO’s Garçon à la Pipe. The estimate for this exceptional work is still only available on request, but experts were talking about USD 70 million back in January. But once auction fever and the prospect of a headline-grabbing record for the artist take hold, Sotheby’s could well see this major canvas from the Rose period fetch the highest price ever achieved at auction.
If the anticipated millions for this work should somehow fail to materialise, thrill-seekers should still not be disappointed. No less than USD 20-30 million is expected for Courses au Bois de Boulogne, a large Édouard MANET canvas. And staying with the equestrian theme, two Edgar DEGAS canvases – La Promenade des Chevaux and Avant la Course – are each estimated at USD 5-7 million. A total of 34 lots will be up for sale at this event.
In the same slot on 6 May, following the sale of another 280 lots, the auctioneer will be hosting another prestigious evening sale, with canvases and sculptures from three collections going under the hammer. Picasso could again achieve the top price of the night with Le Sauvetage (1932), estimated at USD 10-15 million. Some of the more exceptional works on offer include an important mixed media (collage and oil on canvas) Cubist work from 1914 by Juan GRIS, La console de marbre (estimate: USD 4.5-6.5 million) and a gouache collage by Henri Matisse (Les quatre rosaces aux motifs bleus, estimate: USD 2.5-3.5 million).

Once again at the “Impressionist and Modern Art” sales, major works by the leading exponents of Impressionism and Post-impressionism seem to be losing ground to those by stars of the first half of the 20th century.