Record Price for Max Ernst in Spotty Christie's Sale

  • November 01, 2011 22:08

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Max Ernst's (1891-1976) "The Stolen Mirror," described as "a surrealist tour-de-force," brought an artist's record price of $16.3 million at Christie's on Nov. 1, 2011.
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Top lots languished in Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art on Tuesday evening at the start of the important series of sales in New York. Among the blue-chip works failing to sell were star lots by Picasso, Giacometti, Renoir, and the iconic ballerina sculpture by Degas that was expected to fetch about $30 million, but was bid to just $18.5 million.

The sale brought $141 million total, against a pre-sale estimate of $210 million to $300 million. Less than two-thirds of 82 offered works found buyers.

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High estimates may have been a factor in the cautious bidding.

Several works notably soared above estimates, including Max Ernst's "The Stolen Mirror," which quadrupled its low estimate to bring $16.3 million with commission, well above the artist's record of $4.4 million set in June of this year for his "La chute de l'ange."

Tamara De Lempicka's "Idylle (Le Départ)" fetched above estimate to bring $4.7 million. The 1931 work represents the artist's only painting of an amorous relationship between a man and a woman.

"La blonde aux boucles d'oreille," a portrait of a blonde woman by Modigliani, doubled its high estimate to bring above $8 million.

Brancusi's egg-like sculpture "Le premier cri" brought $14.87 million, above the $10 million high estimate. The 1917 piece had been in private hands for 35 years.

Two Magritte works went high at $10.2 million and $7 million. A Picasso set a world record for any print at auction. "La femme qui pleure, I," from his "Weeping Woman" series, sold for $5.1 million, doubling its high estimate.

Sotheby's sale of Impressionist and modern art is on Wednesday.

Read more at Reuters


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