A phone bidder picked up Pablo Picasso's 1932 painting of his lover and muse Marie-Therese Walter for $41.5 million to lead a mixed-results Sotheby's sale in New York on Thursday.
“Nature Morte aux Tulipes” combines an image of Walter as a bust on a pedestal within a still-life with some suggestive fruits.
Estimated at $35 million to $50 million, the Picasso was the top lot in Sotheby’s evening Impressionist and modern art sale. Another Picasso of Walter, titled "Femme à la fenêtre," achieved $17.2 million. His drawing “Le Viol,” or “The Rape,” from 1940, went for a steep $13.5 million.
Several lots performed notably above estimates, including Fernand Leger's "Les Contructeurs" which garnered more than double its low estimate to bring $1.37 million.
A Monet landscape titled "Champ de Ble," sold by the Cleveland Museum of Art for its acquisition funds, went for $12 million, well above its high estimate of $7 million. Also, Monet's "Iris" went for around its high estimate to fetch $6.1 million while his "La Maison Dans Les Roses"(est. $25 million to $3.5 million) went unsold.
Renoir's still life "Vase de Roses et Dahlias' fetched $1,082,500, from an estimate of $400,000-$600,000.
A few of the big-name unsolds were a dark Degas self-portrait and a Rodin bronze nude, both estimated at $1.2 million to $1.8 million.
Picasso's "Plant de Tomate" failed to entice a buyer with an estimate of $10 million to $15 million nor did his "Femme a la Robe Verte," estimated at $6 million to $8 million.
Expected to garner above a total of $169 million, the sale brought in $163 million. In all, 46 of 67 lots went unsold, or 69%.
Christie's sale totaled $205 million the night before, below expectations .