Edvard Munch - The Scream

Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
The Scream, 1895
Pastel on board, 79 x 59 cm.
Sold for $119,922,500 / £73,921,284 / €91,033,826

Mark Rothko - Orange, Red, Yellow

Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961
Sold for $86,882,500 / £53,884,526 / €66.899.525

Henry Moore - Reclining Figure: Festival

Henry Moore (1898-1986)
Reclining Figure: Festival, 1951
Sold for $30,148,375 / £19,081,250 / €22,804,726<
(Pre-sale estimate of £3,500,000 - £5,500,000)

Fragonard - The Good Mother

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806)
The Good Mother


A brief review of Art auctions in 2012, with the stars of the season and the main successes and disappointments

by G. Fernández - theartwolf.com


Edvard Munch: The Scream
Painted in 1895
Sold for $119,922,500 / £73,921,284 / €91,033,826 at Sotheby's New York, May 2012
The sale of "The Scream" marked a new world record for any work of art ever sold at auction. A group of at least eight bidders jumped into the competition, and after more than 12 minutes, the lot was sold to Charles Moffett, bidding on behalf of an anonymous buyer (later revealed to be American businessman Leon Black). Simon Shaw, Senior Vice President of Sotheby's, described the work as “the defining image of modernity".

Mark Rothko: Orange, Red, Yellow
Painted in 1961
Sold for $86,882,500 / £53,884,526 / €66.899.525 at Christie's New York, May 2012
The monumental painting was described by Christie's as "the most important work by the artist on the market since "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)" sold for $72.8m in 2007". Although "Orange, Red, Yellow" has all you want from a Rothko, the "White Center" is a much better work.

Mark Rothko: No.1 (Royal Red and Blue)
Painted in 1954
Sold for $75,122,500 / £46,590,975 / €56.819.200 at Sotheby's New York, November 2012
Rothko again. According to Sotheby's, "(this) majestic canvas was one of eight works handselected by Rothko for his landmark solo show of the same year at the Art Institute of Chicago"

Ruyao Washer
Northern Song Dynasty
Sold for 207,860,000 HKD / $26,500,000 at Sotheby's Hong Kong, April 2012
This beautiful work -described by Sotheby's as "arguably the most desirable piece of Ru official ware remaining in private hands"- smashed the auction record for a Song ceramic bowl.


Henry Moore: Reclining Figure: Festival
Conceived in 1951
Pre-sale estimate of £3,500,000 - £5,500,000
Sold for £19,081,250 / $30,148,375 at Christie's London, February 2012
This bronze piece is now the most expensive British sculpture ever sold, surpassing Damien Hirst’s "The Golden Calf", sold 4 years ago for £10.3 million.

Figure of Isis
Egyptian, Dynasty XXVI, circa 664-525 B.C.
Pre-sale estimate of £400,000 - £600,000
Sold for £3,681,250 / $5,930,494 / €4,553,706 at Christie's London, October 2012
A new world auction record for an Egyptian work of art. The buyer was London dealer Daniel Katz.

Longmen head of a Bohisattva
Early Tang Dynasty, 7th century B.C.
Pre-sale estimate of $40,000 - $60,000
Sold for $992,500 at Sotheby's New York, September 2012
Several Asian works of art sold for spectacular prices in 2012, and this beautiful head of a Bohisattva -sold for 20 times its pre-sale estimate- is a good example.

Lega Mask
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Pre-sale estimate of $5,000 - $7,000
Sold for $362,500 at Sotheby's New York, May 2012
The work was once in the collection of Henri Matisse, and the "with possible alterations by Henri Matisse" statement in the catalogue surely helped to boost its final price.


Joan Miró: Peinture
Painted in 1933
Pre-sale estimate of £7,000,000 - £10,000,000
Unsold at Sotheby's London, February 2012
This classic work by Miró was unsold the day after "Painting-Poem" set a new auction record for the artist. Four months later, Sotheby's sold "Peinture (Étoile Bleue)" for a record £23.56 million ($36.9 million).

Jean-Honoré Fragonard: The Good Mother
Pre-sale estimate of $5,000,000 - $7,000,000
Unsold at Christie's New York, January 2012
This oval-shaped painting was the star of Christie's "The Art of France" auction. "The Good Mother" is one of Fragonard's most famous compositions (a slightly larger version hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston), but the lot failed to sell.

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