Following on from last week’s record-breaking sales of the Rockefeller collection, another marathon week of auctions kicks off today in New York with the first highlight expected to be the $150 million nude by Amedeo Modigliani on the block tonight at Sotheby’s. The cover work for the Tate’s recent exhibition on the artist, it boasts the biggest pre-sale estimate ever attached to a work of art and is already guaranteed to sell. The auction also includes a beautiful Claude Monet, Matinée sur La Seine, which was painted in 1896 and is estimated at $18 million to $25 million.
The first Rockefeller auction at Christies took place on Monday focusing on 19th and 20th century art. While the bidding and atmosphere was almost slightly subdued, the sum raised was not; the auction set numerous artist records and became the most valuable estate ever sold at auction. The sale totalled £476million with all proceeds going to a selection of charities chosen by Peggy and David Rockefeller as the beneficiaries of their Estate. Pablo Picasso’s Fillette à la corbeille fleurie which was the top lot of the night, selling for £115,000,000, while new auction records were set for Claude Monet (£62,407,885), Henri Matisse (£59,506,264) and Eugène Delacroix (£7,277,082) amongst others.
All art-world eyes will be eagerly focused on New York for the next few weeks; the American editions of two big-gun art fairs, Frieze and TEFAF, kick off this week while next week sees the sale of the Rockefeller Collection at Christie’s which will almost certainly become by far the most valuable collection ever sold at auction. The following week, the auction houses host their major spring auctions of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art, which include a painting by Amadeo Modigliani at Sotheby’s estimated at $150 million, and already guaranteed to sell.