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Maurice de Vlaminck
La Danseuse du 'Rat Mort', 1906
Chanteuse de Café-Concert
Le Lever, 1975-78
pass at $3.5 million
La Lutte d'Amour,ca.1879-1880
artnet auction report: sotheby's impressionist and modern
by Walter Robinson
A pretty girl is like a melody
Other lots among the top ten would seem to confirm the equation of art and female beauty. Lot 125, Renoir's La coiffure (1888), sold for $8.8 million. Lot 138, Vlaminck's La Danseuse du 'Rat Mort' (1906), went for $4.6 million. Lot 121, Renoir's La sortie du bain (1889), was bought for $1.4 million. We can even include here lot 163, Henry Moore's Draped Reclining Woman (1889), which sold for $2.6 million. Who said art collectors are politically correct?
Other notable lots were the Monet Nympheas (ca. 1914-17), a work of decorative restraint with a beautifully painted surface, that sold for $5.8 million; and a tiny Degas pastel, Chanteuse de Café-Concert (ca. 1878), with the kind of theatrical lighting that portends today's celebrity spectacle, selling for $1.3 million. The Balthus cult, however, seemed to be absent, as the 89-year-old artist's Le Lever (1975-78), a large and provocative picture of a naked girl presenting a wooden bird to a feral cat, was passed at $3.5 million bid (est. $4 million-$5 million)
The 10 Cézannes in the Pellerin Collection (that we made such a fuss about here) performed modestly. "We had expected higher prices," said Sotheby's expert Anthony Apsis after the sale, "but Cézanne has always been a little too sophisticated for the market." Top lots were the Modern Olympia (ca. 1870), for $5.9 million, and Cinq baigneuses sous des arbres (ca. 1875), for $5.5 million. The Autopsy (1869) went for $1 million and the Battle of Love (ca. 1879-1880) sold for $3.6 million. Cézanne's exceptionally modern view from his apartment window of the industrial-scale wine depot (as opposed to the quainter cafe scenes favored by so many other painters), La Halle aux Vins (1872), was passed at $1.2 million bid (est. $3 million-$4 million).
The overall total was $73.5 million for 42 lots sold out of 56 offered. The presale estimate was $91 million-$120 million. "We feel much, much better than we did yesterday," noted Sotheby's c.e.o. Diana Brooks, referring to the Sharp sale on Nov. 12. Brooks said that the house had a buyer for the unsold Sharp Modigliani nude at a price in excess of $9 million. She put the house's total for the week at almost $160 million, substantially better than the $110 million total of a year ago and the $105 million posted last spring.
Prices given below include the auction house commission of 15 percent on the first $50,000 and 10 percent on the rest.