Sunday 9 February 2014

Record Auction Sale results at Sotheby's

There is no denying that there is something about Impressionist and surrealist art that has wormed it's way into the hearts of collectors and the public alike. Perhaps it is the fact that most of us have grown up with tea towels and puzzles plastered with the most famous examples. Or perhaps it is the more cynical reason that these works seem to have an ever increasing market value and prove a good investment. I choose to believe that these paintings provide us with a peculiar mixture of nostalgia for a distant past and an immediacy that people can not help but relate to.

Whatever cocktail of factors is involved the popularity of these works was proved at a Sotheby's auction this week (5th February 2014). The auction's total reached a staggering £163.5 million.

When you see the paintings it is not difficult to imagine how they captured the hearts and cheque books of a myriad of wealthy investors.

The star of the sale was Camille Pissarro's Le Boulevard Montmartre Matinee de printemps which sold for £16.9 million.This made it the highest selling work by this artist by a significant margin.

 Le Boulevard Montmartre de printemps Pisarro

Pisarro painted a series of paintings of the view from the window of his hotel in Montmartre. The paintings show the scene at different times of day in a similar fashion to Monet's famous hay stacks series. A work from this series hangs in the National Galleries permanent collection and a postcard of it has graced the walls of my bedroom for years. Their painting showing the scene at night has a glow and radiance that shines off the canvas speaking of the warmth and vibrancy of Parisian night life.

Of course this was not the only work to make it's mark on the auctions grand total. The private collection of Jan Krugier went under the hammer including works on paper by artists such as Leger, Ingres, Degas, Cezanne and Picasso to name but a few. These sold incredibly well reflecting their outstanding quality and the keen eye of Krugier. The sale of this collection accounted for £74.9 million of the auction total.

 Composition au minotaure Picasso 1936

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