Sotheby’s jump-started the market this week with a highly successful live-streamed night of marquee sales that brought new artist records and $362.3 million in total revenue. Sotheby’s will continue with the new format in another London evening sale that will combine offerings across Impressionist and Modern art, Old Masters and 19th Century European art scheduled to take place on July 28.
For this sale, alongside a widely anticipated $15 million Rembrandt self-portrait Sotheby’s has secured a trove of works together valued at around £40 million by leading European modernists sourced from a private collection that has been out of the public eye for almost four decades. The eighteen works coming up for sale from the major consignment include leading names such as Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger and Alexej von Jawlensky. An additional 24 lots from the private collection will go up for auction in an online impressionist & modern session, which open to bidders from 20–27 July.
“This private collection encapsulates exactly what collectors long for – quality and rarity” said Helena Newman, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department, adding that the coveted collection “offers seldom seen works from the pinnacle of the Avant-Garde, from the figurative to the abstract.”
Among the highlights of the hybrid evening sale will be Picasso’s drawing Femme endormie from 1931, depicting his sleeping muse, Marie-Thérèse Walter estimated with a value between £6 million and £9 million. The sale marks the work’s debut at auction, unseen in public since the the drawing was initially purchased by the seller in 1986 at Basel’s Galerie Beyeler. An abstract oil on burlap by Fernand Léger hailing from Contrastes de formes series completed in his seminal Cubist period dated 1913 and 1914 will go up for auction at an estimated value of £8 million to £12 million. Another work never before seen at auction, Alberto Giacometti’s bronze black standing figure from 1956 Femme debout will also feature in the London evening sale and is expected to fetch £4 million and £6 million. Other variants from the artist’s seminal series of eight are included in museum collections like Paris’ Centre Pompidou.
Marc Chagall’s gouache on paper work La branche de gui or Le rêve from 1928, featuring a depiction of the artist and his wife in his signature dream-like scheme will also be on offer. The work carries an estimated value of £700,000–£900,000 and was last publicly exhibited in 1985. Among the other high value lots by avant-garde modernists is Wassily Kandinsky’s landscape Murnau, Schloss und Kirche II (Murnau – Castle and Church II) dated 1909 slated with an pre-sale estimate of £1 million to £1.5 million; and Cubo-Futurist Lyonel Feininger’s canvas Zottelstedt II (Town Hall II) from 1927 carries a value of £2 to £3 million.