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.
Christie’s follows with their Impressionist and Modern art sale tomorrow evening. Their pre-sale estimate is now $70million less than it was a week ago after a Picasso portrait owned by Steve Wynn was damaged during the exhibition installation and subsequently withdrawn from sale. A painful reminder that accidents happen, and of the importance in keeping up to date insurance valuations for works of art. The auction is nonetheless expected to make $368 million and also includes top lots by Kazimir Malevich and Constantin Brancusi (both also estimated in the region of $70 million), and further highlights by Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger and Vincent van Gogh, amongst others.
Sotheby’s Contemporary auction on 16 May features Flesh and Spirit by Jean-Michel Basquiat estimated at $30million and fans of the artist should also keen an eye on Phillips’s who are offering Flexible by Basquiat for more than $20million. Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary evening sale on Thursday features a ‘Double Elvis’ by Andy Warhol, as well as a large portrait of George Dyer by Francis Bacon estimated to make $30 million, and Play-Doh by Jeff Koons, an 11-foot-tall sculpture expected to sell in the region of $20 million.
With so many big name works on offer it’s hard to know where to focus your attention, but one thing’s for sure – there will be a lot more money changing hands this week in New York.