Yesterday evening’s tally represented a 15 percent increase from a year ago and was Sotheby’s third highest result for the category in London. Of the 46 lots offered only four failed to find buyers as Russian, Asian and American collectors competed for works by Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinsky. The sale also benefited from the presence of several estates, including that of Jan Krugier, a prominent art dealer who died in 2008.
Monet’s 1906 “Nympheas” fetched 31.7 million pounds ($54 million), becoming the top lot of the sale. Inspired by the lily pond in his garden at Giverny in France, the work was also the second-highest price for a Monet at auction. It was estimated at 20 million to 30 million pounds. The prices include buyer’s premium; the estimates don’t.
The painting resulted in a protracted bidding war between telephone clients of Kevin Ching, Sotheby’s chief executive officer in Asia, and David Norman, chairman of the company’s Impressionist and modern art department. Norman’s client won. Read more..