Sotheby’s recent Impressionist and Modern Art Sale raised a total of $230 million, which is not a bad number, being quite close to the presale estimates of $235 million. While some lots didn’t do spectacularly well, others managed to surpass expectations and raise more than they had been expected to.
The star of the event was aPaul Cezanne still life, a painting simply called Les Pommes (The Apples). The work was sold to a phone bidder, who paid $37 million for it ($41.6 million, buyer premium included). The 1889-90 painting had been expected to fetch between $25 and $35 million, so this can certainly be called a successful sale.
Other works, however, failed to make such e big impression on art lovers, even when they were destined to raise money for charity. For instance, Trois femmes a la table rouge, a painting by Fernand Leger which Madonna had purchased in 1990 for $3.4 million failed to go beyond the middle of the estimated range. Even though the music icon sold it to raise funds for the education of girls in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, the painting got just 6. 25 million, and that only happened after auctioneer Tobias Meyer encouraged bidders to go higher by saying “It’s for a good cause”.
Overall, however, the event was a medium success, selling 84 percent of all lots. The final sum of the sale made it into the auction house’s middle presale estimated range.