Buyers and lookers are already talking about the second phase of the Jan Krugier sale that will take place in London next month at Sotheby’s. The quality of the works and the reasonable estimates have provoked a lot of chatter after the the much larger single-owner sale at Christie’s in New York last November which was also billed as Krugier’s private collection.
What’s different this time? First, there’s the scale of the sale. The stakes are much lower here and the family seems more willing to be reasonable in their expectations. Sotheby’s sale of 119 works, the vast majority on paper, carries a combined estimate of only 24m GBP or $39m which is a little more than a third of the $113.7m that Christie’s was able to realize in New York even with several of the top lots failing to sell.
These works are also more personal, less trophy-oriented. To attract the connoisseur crowd, the estimates have to be attractive because the buying pool demands it.
As a result, the Krugier sale will be an interesting test of the Modern market, its depth and vibrancy away from the headline names that stalled in New York.
Here’s how Sotheby’s is pitching the sale:
On 5 and 6 February 2014, Sotheby’s London will present over 100 masterworks from a collection that has captivated the imagination of world connoisseurs since it was first unveiled 14 years ago: The Private Collection of Jan Krugier. A survivor of the Holocaust, the legendary art dealer – perhaps best known for his involvement with the work of Picasso – walked through life believing in the redemptive potential of art. Together with his wife, Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, he amassed one of the world’s most spectacular collections of works on paper through which he was able to connect particularly closely with the artists he admired the most.
As he described it: “Marie-Anne and I began gathering works on paper by artists of all periods, their common denominator being an intrinsic timeless quality, a same universal, unique approach to the world and to things. It is also, somehow, an inner voyage, an ardent quest and a summing up of our tastes and our artistic aspirations.”
Spanning the history of art from the late 18th to the mid-20th century, the group to be offered incorporates powerful works by the greatest names of their time: Goya, Delacroix, Géricault, Corot, Turner, Degas, Manet, Bonnard, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Matisse, Klee, Picasso and Giacometti.
These were the works that they chose to hang in their private home. Many of the works were included in a series of celebrated exhibitions of the Krugier’s private collection, which were shown at museums in Berlin, Venice, Madrid, Paris, Vienna and Munich.