Nov 13
News

A $27.6-million Monet led the charge at Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern sale in New York.

Claude Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, 1903. Sold for $27.6 million. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Claude Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, 1903. Sold for $27.6 million. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Claude Monet was Sotheby’s big moneymaker yet again on Tuesday night, when the artist’s work topped the house’s Impressionist and modern art evening sale in New York. All four of Sotheby’s evening sales in the category this year have been led by Monet paintings, most notably his record-setting Meules (1890–91), which sold for $110.7 million in May. Tuesday night’s sale was a more muted affair, bringing in a grand total of $209 million, surpassing Christie’s $191.9-million Impressionist and modern sale on Monday night but falling well below its equivalent auction last year, which totaled $315.4 million, and May’s $349.8-million sale. With three lots withdrawn and eight failing to sell, the 53-lot sale achieved a sell-through rate of 84 percent by lot.

Gustave Caillebotte, Richard Gallo et son chien Dick, au Petit-Gennevilliers, 1894. Sold for $19.6 million. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Gustave Caillebotte, Richard Gallo et son chien Dick, au Petit-Gennevilliers, 1894. Sold for $19.6 million. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Top lots:

  • Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge (1903) had the evening’s highest pre-sale estimate, at $20 million to $30 million. It surpassed its low estimate before bidding stalled and the work hammered at $24 million, or $27.6 million with fees. While that result fell well below Monet’s $110.7-million auction record, Sotheby’s noted that it amounted to an auction record for this particular subject matter.
  • Gustave Caillebotte’s Richard Gallo et son chien Dick, au Petit-Gennevilliers (1894) hammered down at its low estimate of $18 million, with the price coming to $19.6 million with fees, good enough for the second-highest total of the night. The large painting is the last Caillebotte painting of his good friend Gallo still in private hands.
  • Paul Signac’s La Corne d'Or (Constantinople) (1907), an eye-popping pointillist rendering of boat traffic on the Golden Horn, sold for a hammer price equal to its low estimate of $14 million, a price that came to $16.2 million with fees.
Paul Signac, La Corne d'Or (Constantinople), 1907. Sold for $16.2 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Paul Signac, La Corne d'Or (Constantinople), 1907. Sold for $16.2 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

The night’s two biggest surprises notched its fourth- and fifth-highest prices. Alberto Giacometti’s 1953 sculpture Buste d’homme (Diego au blouson) sparked the sale’s most protracted bidding war, pushing its price well past its high estimate of $8 million. It eventually sold for a hammer price of $12.3 million, or $14.2 million with fees. A work by a female artist was the only lot to break a major auction record. Dueling phone bidders quickly pushed Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka’s portrait of a reclining figure La Tunique rose (1927) over its high estimate of $8 million. It eventually sold for a hammer price of $11.5 million, or $13.4 million with fees, surpassing her previous record of $9.1 million, set a year ago at Christie’s by La Musicienne (1929).

Tamara de Lempicka, La Tunique rose, 1927. Sold for $13.4 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Tamara de Lempicka, La Tunique rose, 1927. Sold for $13.4 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

New York’s fall sales continue Wednesday with the day auctions of Impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s and Christie’s evening sale of post-war and contemporary art.

Further Reading: 8 Lots That Could Ignite Bidding Frenzies at the Fall Auctions in New York