An auction to remember

More in my “loving New York” series.

On Wednesday evening, I went to the Christies Impressionist and Modern Sale. I visited in the morning to see the works. A sale like this, with works of such astounding quality is very rare. It was like visiting a museum that was doing a “best of” showcase.

The highlights of the sale were four works by Klimt. I have to say I loved them all.

Adele Bloch-Bauer II Houses at Unterach on the Attersee

They are phenomenal works of art. The Adele is masterful, but Birch Forest and Apple Tree just spoke to me.

Birch Forest Apple Tree I

They just make me want to smile. The paintings were behind glass, but I happened to be there at a moment when they opened them up for the press and it was astounding to see them directly. Gorgeous.

L'homme à la hacheThe other work that set record prices was a Gauguin. I have a special affinity for Paul Gauguin. When I was 14, I was dragged through the Smithsonian for 4 hours to see the most comprehensive retrospective of Gauguin’s work. Every major piece was there. While I felt it was somewhat torturous back then, I am really glad my mother forced us through the experience.

The other paintings that really drew me was a Toulouse-Lautrec that was an early work – a charming image of people lounging in the golden country side with a black dog by their side (very unlike some of his later works) and a wonderful wonderful Leger (unfortunately I can’t find an image for the awe inspirting work). Actually, there were so many amazing paintings… I was very lucky to see them.Partie de campagne

The evening sale was a zoo. There were hordes of people and two overflow rooms. The sale set a record of $491 million (including buyer’s premium) and the star of the show, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, sold for a whopping $87.9 million. Amazing. What a great experience.

Read more about the sale here. See all the prices here.

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  • SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I would have loved to go to that auction!!!!!!!!!!!
    WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    The Klimts are great; I saw them at LACMA this summer, along with Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which was bought a few months ago by the Neue Galerie (on 86th and 5th, if you want to take a look – I recommend it) for a record $135M (the most expensive painting ever sold; correct me if I am wrong on the price). Adele Bloch-Bauer I is one of his gold paintings and is simply a-ma-zing. Of course, the gossip goes that the Neue Galerie is now selling a bunch of Schieles to pay for it (what a crime). My view is that they should hold on to the Schieles. With their cafe selling pastries for $7.50 per slice and the demand they have (I waited in line for 45 min to get seated the other day), they will soon cover the cost of Klimt’s creation thanks to Sacher’s creation.

    I digressed again. Back to my point: LET ME KNOW NEXT TIME YOU GO TO AN AUCTION, OK???

  • Shripriya

    Sorry! I thought for sure that you would have gone and seen the exhibit before the auction. I will most definitely let you know the next time I go.

    Yes, I think you’re right on the Adele Bloch-Bauer I price. I also read something in the NY Times about Lauder having to sell some pieces to cover it.

    Btw, I still dream about Birch Forest and Apple Tree I – simply stunning.

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