Still Life by Emil Filla Sets New World Auction Record at Bonhams & Butterfields on November 17

  • LOS ANGELES, California
  • /
  • November 20, 2009

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Emil Filla's Still life with a lemon, bottle of olive oil, bell peppers and a bowl of vegetables, 1925, sold for $266,000.
Bonhams & Butterfields

Seasoned collectors and new bidders from across the United States and around the globe vied for Modern, Contemporary and Latin American works of art at Bonhams & Butterfields on November 17, 2009 in Los Angeles.  Simulcast to the firm's San Francisco auction rooms, the more than 200-lot auction attracted strong buyer interest for a variety of high quality works by well-known artists. 

Highlights from the well rounded fall auction included pieces by Emil Filla, Maurice Utrillo, Pedro Coronel, Alexander Archipenko, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Jack Bush, Tom Wesselmann, Amedeo Modigliani and Jim Dine, among others.  Sales totaled more than $2-million with a new world auction record established for a painting by Emil Filla. 

"We are pleased by yesterday's strong sale results.  Several works by established artists sparked intense bidding throughout many sections of the auction.  Two such works were Raymond Duchamp-Villon's Maggy, 1912, which attracted bidders from the United States and Europe, and Emil Filla's Still life with a lemon, bottle of olive oil, bell peppers and a bowl of vegetables, 1925, which sold for $266,000 against a pre-auction estimate of $15,000 - 20,000 and established a new world auction record for the artist at auction," said Sharon Goodman Squires, newly appointed Specialist in Modern & Contemporary Art at Bonhams & Butterfields. 

The marquee lot of the auction was Still life with a lemon, bottle of olive oil, bell peppers and a bowl of vegetables, 1925 by Czech modernist Emil Filla, which sold for $266,000 - the highest price ever paid for a work by the artist at auction.  The oil on canvas painting displays thick impasto brushwork, which is used to outline the highly stylized and abstracted items on the table. 

Additional highlights from the Modern section of the sale included a French street scene titled Bourg-la-Reine by Maurice Utrillo (sold for: $91,500); a female bronze figure titled Flat Torso by Alexander Archipenko (sold for: $67,100); an abstract bust of a woman titled Maggy, by Raymond Duchamp-Villon (sold for: $67,100) and a pencil drawing of a man titled Léon Solà, 1916 - 1917 by Amedeo Modigliani (sold for: $54,900). 

An excellent and cohesive selection of Latin American Art was also featured during the November auction.  Among the highlights were two large colorful abstract Untitled oil on canvas pieces by Pedro Coronel.  Each piece, one painted in hues of pink and green and the other in blue and green, brought $79,300 each. 

The auction catalogue's cover lot, Study for a Blue Nude, 2000 by Tom Wesselmann also generated excitement among collectors and connoisseurs.  A classic example of the artist's style from his iconic "Blue Nude Series," the painting was characterized by the closely controlled style.  Rare to auction, the petite 'jewel-like' painting sold for $61,000 on November 17th. 

Untitled (John, Paul, George, Ringo and the Beatles), 1968 by Jim Dine was also among the highlights of the fall auction.  Originally commissioned by Capitol Records for a Beatles album which was never made, the graphite and watercolor on vellum lot of five works depict individual toothbrushes labeled for each member of the iconic band: John, Paul, George and Ringo.  The pieces, which brought $51,850, had been in the private collection of former president of Capital Records, Sal Iannucci, and his wife Aileen. 


Press Contact: Jannelle Grigsby,,  (310) 567-7990


About Bonhams

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America and in August 2003, Goodmans, a leading Australian fine art and antiques auctioneer with salerooms in Sydney, joined the Bonhams Group of Companies. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further seven throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston in the USA; and Switzerland, France, Monaco, Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 57 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, go to (01-08) For other press releases, go to

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