Alberto Giacometti’s Chariot sculpture sold for US$101 million, leading Sotheby’s record US$422 million Impressionist and modern art sale in New York.
The 4.75-foot-tall painted bronze figure on wheels met its US$100 million estimate on Tuesday at the evening auction but didn’t set a new artist record. Sotheby’s total exceeded its high estimate of US$300 million. Last night’s total was 45.4 percent higher than last November’s US$290.2 million tally. Of the 73 lots offered, 58 found buyers. Final prices include commissions.
Sotheby’s kicked off a two-week auction season in Manhattan, where art valued at about US$1.8 billion is for sale at three auction houses.
Photo: EPA/Justin Lane
“It was a great night for Sotheby’s,” said collector Jim Grecco, who purchased a painting of clowns and horses by Fernand Leger for US$5.9 million. “As for the Leger, it will fit well in my collection.”
Bidders from 40 countries competed for the works, Sotheby’s said.
Photo: AFP Photo/Don Emmert
Amedeo Modigliani’s sculpture of a goddess’s head sold for US$70.7 million, setting an auction record for the artist. The 2.4-foot high sculpture, created in 1911-1912 from limestone the artist took from a Parisian subway renovation, sailed past its high estimate of US$45 million. The artist’s previous auction record was US$69 million for the 1917 painting Nu Assis Sur un Divan (La Belle Romaine), which sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2010.
Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of a bouquet of white, red and blue wildflowers sold for US$61.8 million against an estimate of US$30 million to US$50 million. Still Life, Vase With Daisies and Poppies set an auction record for a still life painting for the artist. It was purchased by Wang Zhongjun, who, with his brother, runs Huayi Brothers Media Corp, a movie producer and distributor in China, The Wall Street Journal reported today, citing a spokesman at Huayi. Sotheby’s declined to comment.
“We’ve spent a lot of time between Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai, really bringing that art to the audience,” said David Norman, Sotheby’s co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art worldwide. “It’s a significant focus and it’s paying off in terms of percentages in this sale.”
The auction record for a Van Gogh painting was set nearly 25 years ago, when Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for US$82.5 million (about US$150 million adjusted for inflation).
The price of Chariot didn’t break Giacometti’s auction record, which was set by Walking Man, a bronze sculpture that sold for US$104.3 million in 2010 at Sotheby’s in London.
Claude Monet’s 1881 Alice Hoschede au Jardin, which was estimated to sell for US$25 million to US$35 million, sold for US$33.8 million. The work, which was last seen at auction in 1989, is a portrait of Monet’s lover Alice Hoschede, who was also the wife of one of his most important patrons.
Eight lots, including the Giacometti and the Modigliani sculptures, had guarantees, in which the auction house or a third party agrees to buy the artwork at a fixed price before the sale. If the work sells for more than that amount, the guarantor receives a percentage of the sale. Auction houses use guarantees to woo consignors with the assurance that the work will sell for an acceptable sum.
Two out of the three lots that sold for more than US$60 million — the Van Gogh still life and Giacometti’s Chariot — each had a guarantee.
“It’s the highest total for any auction ever held at Sotheby’s,” Simon Shaw, co-head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department worldwide, said after the sale.
The 15 works by Picasso spanning more than six decades of his career had mixed results. Femme Allongee, an abstract of a reclining woman, estimated at US$2 million to US$3 million, sold for US$6 million. His Bouffon et Jeune Acrobate, an early work from 1905 of a boy sitting on a clown’s lap, estimated at US$2.5 million to US$3.5 million, also sold for US$6 million.
Picasso’s almost monochromatic oil painting of a woman in religious contemplation, La Communiante Avec Missel, valued at US$1.2 million to US$1.8 million, failed to find a buyer. Comme Assis, a 4.25-foot tall work from 1969 that sold for US$11.4 million, was painted at the end of Picasso’s career. An abstract portrait of a musketeer, the canvas is bright red, green and yellow set against a beige background. The work was valued at US$8 million to US$12 million.
African-American entertainer Dooley appeared on local television show Super Entourage (小明星大跟班) a few weeks ago and was told by the crew that they wanted to do a skit in blackface. Dooley, whose real name is Matthew Candler, tells the Taipei Times that Super Entourage wanted to perform a rendition of the wildly popular “Ghana Coffin Dance,” a meme that has taken the world by storm. Instead, he showed them videos about the racist origins of blackface and slavery in America, and they agreed to drop the makeup. “[I told them] about the history [behind blackface] and [said] you decide
June 1 to June 7 In February 1988, Robert Wu (吳清友) set aside NT$17.5 million to purchase two Henry Moore sculptures from London’s Marlborough Gallery. He never bought the pieces. Feeling slighted that the gallery manager initially looked down on him as a Taiwanese, he decided that night to use the money to open his own art space back home. “Without selling any art, that money could support the gallery for four years. If I feature one artist per month, that provides a stage for at least 100 artists,” Wu said in the book Eslite Time (誠品時光) by Lin Ching-yi (林靜宜).
With listicles of local attractions including Costco and numerous children’s playgrounds, I was not expecting much. Opened on Jan. 31, the Taipei MRT’s Circular Line, or Yellow Line, made life in the nation’s capital even more convenient. But judging from Internet search results, it hasn’t opened up many new tourism opportunities, unsurprising as the route mostly crosses densely populated areas and industrial parks. Places like a sports stadium with rainbow colored bleachers perfect for Instagram selfies wouldn’t do it for me either, and it’s pointless to list attractions at the connecting stops that have existed for years. As a history nerd, there
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