Christie’s, owned by the Artémis holding of French billionaire François Pinault, and its competitor Sotheby’s, which belongs to Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, are in the middle of the fall auction season until November 15. And the two houses hope to break records by raising billions of dollars.
The masterpiece of French impressionist painter Claude Monet Water Lily Pond was sold at auction for $74 million on Thursday in New York, during an exceptional evening at Christie’s. Sotheby’s, which sold a Picasso on Wednesday evening (Woman with watch, from 1932) for $139 million, the second most expensive work for the Spanish master who died in 1973, has already fetched more than $400 million at auction this week. Christie’s is at 748 million, including 640 million on Thursday evening.
Since 2017, this has been a record sum accumulated in a single evening of sales of works of art belonging to different collectors, Christie’s welcomed in a press release.
Latest sale for Jussi Pylkkänen
The highlight of the evening, Water Lily Pond (1917-1919), by Claude Monet, estimated at 65 million dollars, went for 74 million under the hammer of the star auctioneer of Christie’s, the international president of the house, Jussi Pylkkänen, whose last appearance was at the Rockefeller Center headquarters in Manhattan.
The director, who had announced that he was leaving after four decades of career, was applauded standing by wealthy collectors and art lovers in a crowded and ultra-chic room, typical of these New York evenings.
Three paintings by Paul Cézanne, including Fruits and jar of gingersold for nearly $39 million, were sold for the benefit of the Langmatt Museum in Baden, Switzerland, according to Christie’s. “The sale, a last-ditch solution, was a painful step for us”recognized Markus Stegmann, the director of this museum which found itself in great financial difficulty, in a press release.
Thanks to the amount of the sale, the future of the museum is assured, “therefore, the foundation and management of the museum are relieved”, specifies a press release from Langmatt, which has a collection of around fifty remarkable works by Gauguin, Renoir, Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, Degas and Cassatt. He also has six works by Cézanne remaining.
Other individual records were broken Thursday evening: the work of the 20th century American expressionist paintere century Richard Diebenkorn, Recollections of a Visit to Leningrad was sold for 46 million dollars, and Untitledfrom his compatriot Joan Mitchell, 29 million.
In a context of international crises, the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s are delighted with a healthy art and luxury market, driven by Asia, in particular by China, and “without indication” slowdown after an exceptional 2022 vintage, with more than $16 billion in cumulative sales.