Christie’s mid-season Impressionist & Modern sale. On offer were a whole group of less important works by artist like Lempicka, Matisse, Derain, Rodin, Renoir, Pissarro, Picasso, etc. and nicer works by many of the less important artists such as Dyf, Venard, Camoin, Brasilier, and Gall.
Taking the checkered flag was Charles Camoin’s La salle à manger à Saint-Tropez… which carried a $60-$80,000 est. and sold for $140,500; second place saw a tie at $80,500: J.P. Cassigneul’s Femme au chapeau (est. $40-$60K) and Lempicka’s Nature morte à la plante grasse (also $40-$60K); and rounding out the top five were other works by Cassigneul ($68,500) and Lempicka ($62,500).
What I found very interesting about this sale was that while many of the artists featured in this sale are not household names, there was a lot of interest shown – all but 6 works met or exceeded their estimates. The sale was compact – only 166 illustrated and by sale time 3 of the works had been withdrawn … so 163 were actually offered for sale. Of those, 148 sold and 15 were bought-in – creating a sell-through rate of almost 91% and a total take of $2.56M.
This sale was a great example of what can happen, even in the lower range, when a saleroom offers a select group of works with reasonable estimates. Once the New York sales were finished, the ‘minor’ action switched to London where Christie’s offered 2 sales of lower end material. Now there is really very little to write home about, but I will give you the highlights.
In the Sporting & Wildlife sale top honors went to Dylan Lewis’s bronze of a Leopard which made £56,450 ($84,500), coming in a close second was Lionel Edwards’ watercolor Over the Hedge at £55,250 ($82,654) and in third was Sir Peter Scott’s Mallard and Teal in Flight at £51,650 ($77,268). Of the 134 works offered, 90 sold and 44 were bought-in for a sell-through rate of 67% and a total take of £695,387 ($1.05M).
The following week saw a really lackluster mid-season sale of Victorian and British Impressionist works … here again not much to write about. Top honors went to one of the oddest looking Arthur Elsley paintings I have seen – Caught in the Act (featuring a young girl hoisting a Jack Russell Terrier over her shoulder and a group of hens scattering for cover). This painting has been offered for sale many times in the past 25 years and this is only the second time it found a buyer £25,000 ($38,075) – last time was in 1992 when it made £17,600. Second place was secured by G.G. Kilburne’s A Game of Tennis … a very nice watercolor that brought £17,500 ($26,653) on a £3-5,000 estimate; and coming in third were a group of studies (8 in all) by Evelyn de Morgan which made £15,000 ($22,845). This sale included 132 lots, of which 107 found buyers and 25 were bought-in leaving a sell-through rate of 81% (not bad considering what was being offered) and a total take of £427,537 ($651,139).
One has to wonder – is it really cost effective for them to have these sales?