Francis Bacon - Three Studies of Lucian Freud

Francis Bacon (1909-1992)
Three Studies of Lucian Freud
oil on canvas each (unframed): 78 x 58 in. (198 x 147.5 cm.)
Painted in 1969
Sold for $142,4 million / £90 million / 106 million euro
World auction record for a work of art

Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash

Andy Warhol: Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster]
105 x 164 1/8 in., 1963
Sold for $105,445,000
Image Courtesy Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich

Jeff Koons: Balloon Dog (Orange)   Jackson Pollock: Number 19, 1948

Left - Jeff Koons: Balloon Dog (Orange)
Right - Jackson Pollock: Number 19, 1948
Each one sold for $58,4 million

Norman Rockwell - Saying Grace

Norman Rockwell
Saying Grace
Estimate $15/20 million
Sold for $46,085,000
World auction record for the artist

The Clark-Corcoran carpet   Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones: Love among the Ruins

Left - The Clark-Corcoran carpet (Persia, first half 17th century)
Estimate: $5,000,000 - $7,000,000
Sold for $33,765,000

Right - Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones: Love among the Ruins
Estimate: £3,000,000 - £5,000,000 ($4,600,000 - $7,500,000)
Sold for £14,845,875 ($22,432,117)

The Mazarin Chest

The Mazarin Chest
Created in the 17th century
Sold for $10,3 million / £6,3 million / €7,3 million
Pre-sale estimate of €200,000

Giacomo Balla - Automobile in corsa

Giacomo Balla
Automobile in corsa
Painted in 1913.
Sold for $11,477,000

Wassily Kandinsky - Herbstlandschaft

Wassily Kandinsky
Herbstlandschaft, 1911
Estimate: $20,000,000-25,000,000
Unsold

Matta: Morphologie Psychologique   Matta: El Prisionero de la luz

Two unsold works by Matta
Left: Morphologie Psychologique, 1939 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000)
Right: El Prisionero de la luz, 1941 (estimate: $2,5-3,5 million)


ART AUCTIONS REVIEW - YEAR 2013



Art auctions 2013 Review: from the record-breaker Bacon to a multimillion Persian carpet, we present our personal review of the 2013 Art Auctions season, its superstars, successes, bargains and disappointments.

by G. Fernández - theartwolf.com

THE SUPERSTARS OF THE YEAR

Francis Bacon: Three Studies of Lucian Freud
Painted in 1969
Sold for $142,4 million / £90 million / €106 million at Christie's New York, November 2013
The sale of this powerful triptych set a new world record for any work of art ever sold at auction. Christie's described the work as a powerful dialogue between Bacon and Freud that "recalls the energetic sparring between Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Titian and Tintoretto". Now it also recalls the "energetic sparring" between Russian billionaires and Middle Eastern royal families, fighting for the most coveted artowrks.

Andy Warhol: Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster]
Painted in 1963
Sold for $105,4 million / £64,6 million / €76,7 million at Sotheby's New York, November 2013
A world auction record for Warhol. Tobias Meyer, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s, described the painting as "a work of such scale and ambition that it takes its place alongside paintings such as Pablo Picasso’s 'Guernica' and Théodore Géricault’s 'The Raft of the Medusa' as one of the definitive masterpieces of history painting”. What an enthusiastic description for a work that has been seen in public only once in the past 26 years!

Jeff Koons: Balloon Dog (Orange)
Created in 1994-2000
Sold for $58,4 million / £36,6 million / €43,5 million at Christie's New York, November 2013
According to Christie's, this work "has become an icon of Popular vernacular, adored by the public and collectors for its unabashed celebration of childhood, hope and innocence". This 3-meter tall puppy soared high and became the most expensive artwork by a living artist.

Jackson Pollock: Number 19, 1948
Painted in 1948
Sold for $58,4 million / £38,5 million / €45,5 million at Christie's New York, May 2013
The most expensive Pollock ever auctioned. While modest in size (78.4 x 57.4 cm.), the work is an extremely powerful drip, showing Pollock at the height of his powers. Clement Greenberg declared that this work "seemed more than enough to justify the claim that Pollock is one of the major painters of our time.

Norman Rockwell: Saying Grace
Painted in 1951
Sold for $46,1 million / £28,3 million / €33,6 million at Sotheby's New York, December 2013
This important work was named Rockwell's most popular cover in 1955, and now holds another title: the most expensive work by the artist, nearly tripling the previous auction record for the artist, and soaring past its $20 million high estimate.


THE SUCCESSES

The Clark-Corcoran Carpet
Persia, first half 17th century
Sold for $33,8 million / £20,7 million / €24,6 million at Sotheby's New York, June 2013
Pre-sale estimate of $5-7 million
With the sale of this Persian carpet, Sotheby's broke two records: this spectacular artwork, previously exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, is not only the most expensive carpet ever sold, but it also set a world auction record for an Islamic work of art.

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones: Love among the Ruins
Painted in 1873
Sold for $22,4 million / £14,8 million / €16,3 million at Christie's London, July 2013
Pre-sale estimate of £3-5 million
The most expensive pre-Raphaelite painting ever auctioned. The catalogue described this work as "one of the master's most perfect and beautiful creations". Along with the recent market successes for works by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, this sale proves that Academic paintings can also be "market blockbusters".

The Mazarin Chest
Japan, 17th century
Sold for $10,3 million / £6,3 million / €7,3 million at Rouillac Auctioneers, June 2013
Pre-sale estimate of €200,000
This spectacular gold lacquered chest has an incredible story: thought to be a worthless artifact, it was bought for just £100 in 1971 and used as a drinks bar. But when the chest was brought to Rouillac Auctioneers, the Rouillac brothers recognized its value (or at least part of it) and included it in one of their sales. At the auction, the Rijksmuseum from Amsterdam and the Victoria & Albert Museum from London fought for the artwork, with the Dutch Museum finally getting the winning bid.

Berthe Morisot: Aprés le déjeuner
Painted in 1881
Sold for $10,9 million / £7,0 million / €8,1 million at Christie's London, February 2013
Pre-sale estimate of £1.5-2.5 million
2013 was not a great year for Impressionist paintings at auction, clearly overpowered by modern and contemporary works. However, this beautiful painting was a true success, and it is now the most valuable work of art by a female artist sold at auction.

A yellow and russet jade carving of a mythical beast
China, Song Dynasty
Sold for $1,073,932 / £651,876 / €781,500 at Sotheby's Paris, June 2013
Pre-sale estimate of €12,000-15,000
One of the most amazing sales of the year, surpassing in more than 50 times its pre-sale estimate.

A blue and white jar with tigers, Joseon Dynasty
Created in the 19th century
Sold for $937,750 / £575,437 / €682,406 at Christie's New York, September 2013
Pre-sale estimate of $40,000-60,000
Some Asian artworks are really hard to value. At the same auction, another blue and white ceramic from the Joseon Dynasty failed to sell despite a pre-sale estimate of $150,000-$180,000.


THE BARGAINS

Giacomo Balla: Automobile in corsa
Painted in 1913
Sold for $11,5 million / £6,6 million / €8,4 million at Sotheby's New York, November 2013
Opportunities to acquire a true masterpiece of modern art -a work of such importance that it could be included on the cover of a modern art book- rarely appears. Without a doubt, Balla's "Automobile in corsa" is one of those works. However, the art market still does not understand Balla's importance: the day before, "Disgregazione x velocità, Penetrazioni dinamiche d'automobile" -a smaller, sketchier but also excellent work by Balla- failed to sell at Christie's despite its modest estimate of $3-5 million.

Frederic Edwin Church: Final Study for 'The Icebergs'
Painted in 1860
Sold for $905,000 / £555,489 / €658,750 at Sotheby's New York, December 2013
Church's "The Icebergs" (Dallas Museum of Art) is one of the most famous masterpieces of American art. Sotheby's explained that this nicely large (25,4x46 cm.) studio, an oil on canvas on masonite, is "Church’s last preparatory work before committing himself fully to the monumental painting", adding that "the two are nearly identical in their compositional arrangements". A little masterpiece for less than $1 million.

Egyptian painted wood funerary ensemble
21st dynasty, 1070-945 B.C
Sold for $221,000 / £135,650 / €160,865 at Christie's New York, December 2013
This spectacular ensemble of a coffin lid and trough and a mummy-board is one of the most interesting Egyptian antiquities to have appeared at auction in the last decade. It also has an excellent provenance, having belonged to M. Gustave Posno, a Dutch jeweler living in Cairo in the second half of the 19th century.


THE DISAPPOINTMENTS

Wassily Kandinsky: Herbstlandschaft
Painted in 1911
Unsold at Christie's New York, November 2013
Pre-sale estimate of $20-25 million
Early masterpieces by Kandinsky rank among the most important works that are still available on the art market. "Herbstlandschaft" is a marvelous painting in which "the natural world appears to have been transfigured into a completely spiritual realm", as Christie's explained in the catalogue. Any modern or even contemporary art collector should love and admire this audacious painting. However, the work passed at $14 million.

Several early and important paintings by Matta
"Morphologie Psychologique" (1939). Unsold at Sotheby's New York, May 2013 (estimate: $800,000 - 1,200,000)
"Morphologie Psychologique (Fleureur)" (1939). Sold for $995,000 at Sotheby's New York, November 2013 (estimate: $800,000 - 1,200,000)
""El prisonero de la luz" (1941). Unsold at Christie's New York, May 2013 (estimate: $2,500,000 - 3,500,000)
There are many modern masters whose works are still not fully valued by the art market. Giacomo Balla (see above) is one of them. Arshile Gorky is another notable example. And Roberto Matta would complete a trio of "underrated" masters. Matta died at age 91 and was a very prolific painter, which means that many of his works are still available on the market. However, his early paintings (those created before World War II) do not so frequently appear at auction, and they are often so powerful that make Abstract Expressionism pale in comparison.


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