The reports from Christie’s are coming in with Kelly Crow keeping score on Henry Kravis’s four work consignment:
A quartet of works offered up by financier Henry Kravis were estimated to sell for at least $38 million but ultimately fetched $50 million combined. The highlight of Mr. Kravis’s group was Juan Gris’s still life from 1913, “Violin and Guitar,” which sold for a record $28.6 million to an anonymous European collector bidding over the telephone. Another work in the group, Joan Miro’s 1938 “Air,” sold to London dealer Alan Hobart for $10.3 million.
Carol Vogel remarks upon the dealer activity:
Several works-on-paper brought particularly high prices. “Man and Woman,” a 1917 gouache of an embracing, naked couple by Schiele, was estimated to bring $4 million to $6 million. Robert Mnuchin of L& M Arts outbid six people, buying the drawing for $7.3 million, a hefty price considering that when it had last been on the market, at Sotheby’s in London nine years ago, it brought $2.5 million.
Lindsay Pollack spotted these buyers:
- “We are in a happier place,” said New York dealer Maxwell Davidson IV, after the sale. “There is not as much doom and gloom. If there’s quality, you can sell it.” Davidson bought a $1.4 million pink Wassily Kandinsky watercolor and a blue Picasso watercolor for $818,500.
- “There was healthy, healthy bidding for star material,” said New York dealer John Driscoll of Babcock Galleries, who bought a small Georges Seurat painting for $2.1 million. “People are starving for quality material.”
Judd Tully adds these observations:
- Impressionist material rarely exceeded expectations, as evidenced by the pretty but unremarkable 1892 Camille Pissarro oil “Enfants attables dans le jardin a Eragny” (est. $3–4 million) that sold to London’s Richard Green gallery for $3,442,500. It last sold at auction at Sotheby Parke Bernet in New York, the forerunner of plain-old Sotheby’s, for $200,000 in 1981.
- The sale was chock full works by the French Modernist Fernand Leger, and three of his paintings made the list of top-10 performers, including “La Tasse de thé” (1921; est. $8-12 million), which sold to London contemporary art dealer Timothy Taylor for $8,146,500.
Christie’s Super-Sized Sale Brings in $213.4 Million (Wall Street Journal)
Demand for Modern Masters Leads to Records at Christie’s (New York Times)
Matisse’s $49 Million Bronze Shows Art Buyers Are `Starving for Quality’ (Bloomberg)
As Christie’s Collects $231 Million, Dueling Bidders Set a Matisse Record (ArtInfo.com)