Last night in a packed saleroom Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale was led by Egon Schiele’s 1914 cityscape Häuser mit bunter Wäsche (Vorstadt II)/Houses with Laundry (Suburb II), which sold for £24,681,250/$40,099,627/-27,635,665 (est. £22-30 million/$35.4 – 48.5 million), almost double the previous record for the artist at auction
LONDON, WEDNESDAY 23 JUNE, 2011 – Last night in a packed saleroom Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale was led by Egon Schiele’s 1914 cityscape Häuser mit bunter Wäsche (Vorstadt II)/Houses with Laundry (Suburb II), which sold for £24,681,250/$40,099,627/€27,635,665 (est. £22-30 million / $35.4 – 48.5 million), almost double the previous record for the artist at auction.
Achieving the highest price of the week, the monumental work – sold by the Leopold Museum in Vienna – was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder. Overall the sale achieved a strong total of £96,968,000/$157,543,910/¤108,575,344, well within the pre-sale estimate of £77 -111 million. The sale saw an average lot value for the works sold of £3.03 million, and the sale was 91.4% sold by lot and 98.4% sold by value.
Commenting on the sale, Helena Newman, Chairman, Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide, said: “We were thrilled with the record price achieved for Egon Schiele’s Häuser mit bunter Wäsche (Vorstadt II) and were honoured to bring this museum-quality work to auction. Tonight we saw a great depth of international bidding from all corners of the globe, including North America, Europe and Asia.
“Bidders competed aggressively for the opportunity to acquire high- quality works from private collections, not seen on the market for decades, demonstrating the remarkable strength of the market. Tonight’s sale total brings Sotheby’s worldwide sales for Impressionist & Modern Art in 2011 to date to combined total in excess of £370 million/$600 million.”
Painted in 1914, at the height of celebrated Austrian artist Egon Schiele’s short career (he died in 1918 at the age of just 28), Häuser mit bunter Wäsche (Vorstadt II) is one of the most impressive of the artist’s few monumental cityscapes. The work came to the auction market for the first time from the collection of the Leopold Museum in Vienna.
Peter Weinhäupl, Managing and Finance Director of the Leopold Museum, said: “We are extremely pleased with the results Sotheby’s has achieved this evening with the sale of Häuser mit bunter Wäsche, “Vorstadt” II, which set a world record for the artist at auction and will allow the museum to move forward with its goals.”
Highest price for sculpture at auction this week Tonight Sotheby’s also achieved the top selling price for sculpture this week with Alberto Giacometti’s Trois hommes qui marchent II, selling for £10,681,250/$17,353,827/€11,959,826 (est. £10-15 million). The sculpture, which epitomises the artist’s mature style and is one of his most iconic works, forms the genesis of L’Homme qui marche I, which set the record for any work of art at auction when it fetched £65 million at Sotheby’s in February 2010.
Other notable prices this evening A record for a work on paper was achieved tonight for Marc Chagall when his Au-Dessus de la ville soared past the high estimate of £850,000 to sell for £1,833,250/$2,978,481/€2,052,695. The stunningly romantic composition depicting the artist with his wife, Bella, was executed from 1914-22, a pivotal time in the artist’s oeuvre.
Pablo Picasso’s erotically charged Couple, le baiser of 1969 (est. £6-8 million) sold for £6,537,250/$10,621,070/¤7,319,777. Understood to represent the artist and his wife Jacqueline Roque, the work is an uninhibited interpretation of the passionate encounter in which Picasso channelled concerns regarding his fading virility at the advanced age of 88.
Tamara de Lempicka’s sensual La Dormeuse of 1930 sold for £4,073,250/$6,617,809/ €4,560,830 (est. £2.2-£3.2 million) a record for the artist and auction in US dollars.
The strength of the market for Surrealism was again witnessed tonight with works by Surrealist artist René Magritte performing well: the three works on offer selling for a combined £5,235,750, well above their cumulative £4.3 million high estimate. L’Empire des Lumières, the artist’s most sought- after theme, sold for £2,393,250/$3,888,313/¤2,679,729. His oil on canvas L’Empire des Lumières sold for £2,337,250 /$3,797,330/€2,617,025 (estimated at £1,8-2,5 million), and Perspective sold for £505,250/$820,880/€565,730 (estimated at £400,000-600,000).
Appearing for the first time at auction, Paul Klee’s important oil and tempera on gesso on board, Stadtburg Kr. of 1932 (est. £2-3 million) fetched £2,617,250/$4,252,246/¤2,930,542. The work is a magnificent example of the artist’s ability to blend architectural elements and geometric forms into a fantastic, dream-like composition.
Strong prices were also achieved tonight for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Auguste Rodin. The group was led by Toulouse-Lautrec’s masterly portrait La Liseuse, which was offered for sale for the first time in 70 years and sold for £5,641,250/$9,165,339/ ¤6,316,524. Executed in 1889, the work is a major example of the insightful character of Toulouse-Lautrec’s portraiture, as well as of his remarkably modern style.
Image courtesy of Sotheby’s