At the first Christie’s evening sale in 2019, two world records were set at once – for the vibrant paintings by impressionist Gustave Caillebotte and pointillist Paul Signac. As for the leader of the evening, it was a colorful still life by Paul Cézanne, sold for 21.2 million pounds (28.1 million dollars).
This year’s first Christie’s evening sale, held on February 27 in London, brought a total of 165.7 million pounds (219.5 million dollars). The most expensive lot was “Still Life with Peaches and Pears” by Paul Cézanne created between 1885 and 1887. It was purchased by an art consultant from New York Nancy White. The price paid for this amazing masterpiece is almost two times lower than the world record for the art pieces of the French post-impressionist, set in 2013. Back then, a similar “Still Life with Apples” still life painting was acquired at the Sotheby’s auction for 41.6 million dollars.
A French art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who organized the first solo exhibition of Cézanne in 1895, bought “Still Life with Peaches and Pears” directly from the artist. The picture appeared on the auction podium for the first time since 1980.
One of the sensations in the first section of the Christie’s evening sale was “Three Dancers In A Rehearsal Room” (1873) by Edgar Degas, for which a fierce battle unfolded. A small, pearl-like painting depicting a rehearsal of the ballet trio was eventually sold for 4.2 million pounds (5.5 million dollars), although initially it was supposed to gain no more than 1.2 million.
Later that night, Christie’s Auction House put up for auction six exquisite paintings from the private collection of the late Canadian media mogul, billionaire David Graham. The leader of this section was the shining landscape painting by Paul Signac titled “The Port at Sunset, Opus 236 (Saint-Tropez),” created in 1892. It was sold for 19.5 million pounds (25.8 million dollars), and it set a world record for the artist’s artworks. The previous achievement lasted 12 years – since the art piece “Cassis. Cape Canaille” was sold in New York for $14,000,000.
The second world record was set for Gustave Caillebotte: his rural scene “Up the Path,” written in Trouville in 1881, went under the hammer for 16.7 million pounds (22 million dollars). The previous record for the impressionist artworks was achieved in 2011.
In the third section of the Christie’s evening sale, “The Art of the Surreal,” were offered seven art pieces by René Magritte, among which a special place was occupied by the canvas artwork titled “Le Lieu Commun” (“The Commonplace”). It depicts a man in a bowler hat – one of the iconic images of the artist. It was expected that the famous picture, written in 1964 and never appearing at auctions, would set a new world record: its preliminary estimate ranged from 15-25 million pounds. However, the hammer fell at the level of 18.4 million pounds (24.3 million dollars). Thus, a portrait “The Pleasure Principle,” sold in November 2018 for 26.8 million dollars, remained the most expensive painting among Magritte’s works remained.