Bloomberg‘s Scott Reyburn reveals Sotheby’s first major piece for the February sales in London. This Degas statue is an iconic work cuurently owned by John Madjeski, a UK publisher:
“Petite danseuse de quatorze ans” owned by Madejski — one of the U.K.’s wealthiest businessmen — is expected to fetch up to 12 million pounds ($17.6 million), the auction house said in an e-mailed statement today. Its minimum estimate is 9 million pounds.
The 3-foot-high “Little Dancer” is one of an edition of 28 bronze casts made in 1922 after the artist’s death in 1917. The original wax and fabric statue, now in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon and on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. was first shown by Degas in Paris at the sixth Impressionist exhibition of 1881.
He bought this particular version of the statue — one of 10 left in private hands — for 5 million pounds at Sotheby’s in London in February 2004, the auction house said. This was the last time a “Petite danseuse” appeared at auction, said Sotheby’s. Since then it has been on display at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, where Madejski sponsored a suite of galleries bearing his name.
So much for art prices returning to 2004 levels. Here’s a work that Sotheby’s hopes will more than double its 2004 price.