Kandinsky leads auctions in London
Kandinsky leads auctions in London, June 2021
Wassily Kandinsky’s “Tensions calmées” was the top lot at the London art auctions in June 2021, ahead of works by Lucian Freud, Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti which also sold for hefty prices.
Wassily Kandinsky — Tensions calmees — 1937–1Lucian Freud — David Hockney — 2002
Images: Wassily Kandinsky: “Tensions calmées”, 1937. Oil on canvas, 89.3 x 116.6 cm ·· Lucian Freud: “David Hockney”, 2002. Oil on canvas, 40.6 x 31.1 cm.
The Kandinsky was the star of Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale (June 29, 2021), selling for £21,224,700 ($29,298,200). The painting, which had been in the same private collection since 1964, is a good late Kandinsky, albeit not as interesting as his early abstractions from the early 1910s. At the same sale, “Homme et femme au bouquet”, a very late (1970) painting by Pablo Picasso was sold for £9,390,000 ($12,960,000). Odilon Redon’s beautiful “Profil bleu” soared above its high estimate of £800,000, selling for £1,406,500 ($2,015,000)
Earlier that day, Sotheby’s held the British Art Evening Sale: Modern/Contemporary, highlighted by Lucian Freud’s portrait of David Hockney, which sold for £14,905,200 ($20,598,000), comfortably over its high estimate. Curiously, the portrayed (David Hockney) is the author of two of the auction’s greatest successes, “Gladioli with Two Oranges”, a strong still life sold for £4,219,500 ($5,830,000), more than doubling its high estimate, and “The Luxor Hotel”, a quite sketchy drawing sold for £511,100 ($706,300) against a pre-sale estimate of just £150,000–200,000.
The following day, Christie’s 20th/21st Century: London Evening Sale achieved a total of £119,299,545 ($164,900,000). Another very late work by Pablo Picasso, “L’Étreinte” (1969) achieved the highest price in the auction, selling for £14,697,000 ($20,316,000), closely followed by a small version of Alberto Giacometti’s “Homme qui chavire”, sold for £13,703,000 ($18,945,000).
A somewhat disturbing lot in the sale was Banksy’s “Subject to Availability” (2009–2010). The landscape, sold for £4,582,500 ($6,338,000), is a copy of Albert Bierstadt’s “Mount Rainier”, sold for $2,153,000 at the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction in 2011. These are crazy times when a copy sells for three times as much as the original, don’t you think?