Sotheby's Mo Ostin Collection & Modern Evening Auction Total $427 Million

Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Sotheby's Mo Ostin Collection & Modern Evening Auction Total $427 Million

Gustav Klimt’s evocative waterscape, Insel im Attersee, sells for $53.2m Aquired by a private Japanese collector. René Magritte’s quintessential surrealist work L'Empire des lumières achieves $42.3m

The star highlight of the night: Gustav Klimt's Insel im Attersee painted in c. 1901-02, on the cusp of the artist’s acclaimed Golden period, sold to a Japanese private collector for $53.2m after a seven-minute bidding battle during the Modern Evening Auction (est. in the region of $45m).

Two timeless masterpieces by René Magritte set new benchmarks in their auction debuts during

The Mo Ostin Collection: 

  • L'empire des lumières, which has remained in the collection since 1979, sold for $42.3m (est. $35-55m), becoming the second most valuable work by the artist ever sold at auction; 
  • After a seven-minute bidding battle, Le domaine d'Arnheim achieved $18.9m ($15-25m) - a record for the artist’s ‘Arnheim’ series and his ‘Shattered Glass’ paintings. 

Distinguished Collections Drive Demand

  • Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ Portrait of a Man as Mars achieved $26.2m (est. $20-30m). The work comes from the esteemed Fisch Davidson Collection, from which 10 works achieved $49.6m in January 2023. 
  • Two works from the collection of Jan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem are sold for charitable purposes supporting the arts, music, educational and medical research, including Pablo Picasso’s Femme nue couchée jouant avec un chat, which realized $21.2m (est. $20-30m).
  • Eight works from the “Impressionist Spirit Collection” achieved a combined $31.6m, led by Claude Monet’s Cap au martin, which sold for $11.5m (est. $10-15m). 
  • Two works from the collection of Frances Wells Magee found buyers, including Mark Rothko’s Untitled canvas which realized $4.7m. A further two works from the collection will be offered in the Contemporary Evening Auction. 

René Magritte, L'empire des lumières

Further Standout Results 

 From the Mo Ostin Collection Evening Auction:  

  • Five participants from across the globe vied for Cecily Brown’s expressionist painting, Free Games for May, taking the final price to $6.7m (est. $3-5m). 
  • Once held in the collection of The Broad Art Foundation in Los Angeles, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Moon View surpassed its high estimate to sell for $10.8m (est. $7-10m). 

From the Modern Evening Auction:

  • Vincent van Gogh’s 1887 work, Jardin devant le Mas Debray, a work showcasing the artist’s early use of vivid color was acquired by a collector in Asia for $23.3m in its auction debut (est. $20-30m). 
  • Auction record set for Vilhelm Hammershøi after his Interior. The Music Room, Strandgade 30, almost doubled its high estimate to achieve $9.1m in its first appearance at auction in almost 80 years (est. $3-5m). Acquired by an American museum.
  • Isamu Noguchi’s The Family sold to applause after a six-minute bidding battle for $12.3m - setting a new auction record for the artist (est. $6-8m). Tonight’s sale marked the first time the work has appeared on the market since its creation 60 years ago. 
  • Six works by Pablo Picasso bring a combined $52.4m, led by Femme nue couchée jouant avec un chat ($21.2m). 
  • Alberto Giacometti’s Femme Leoni sold for $28.5 million, a record for the artist’s series.

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Image of the Day

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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