A Picasso for 120 million dollars, a Monet for 40 million, and... a Ferrari for 60 million: the major New York auction houses intend to sell billions of dollars worth of works of art on a market that does not know the crisis. In the context of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and global inflation, the two behemoths of the sector, Sotheby's and Christie's, will however have difficulty doing as well as in 2022 - an unprecedented year - where their sales to Annual auctions and private auctions had totaled more than $16 billion. A record.
It is Sotheby's, owned by French, Moroccan and Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, which could win the lion's share for these fall sales from November 7 to 15 in New York, one of the world's leading centers of arts and finance. Its rival Christie's, which belongs to the Artémis holding of French billionaire François Pinault, is counting on 723 million to a billion dollars in sales in a few days.
For the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Pablo Picasso should crush New York parties with one of his masterpieces: Woman with a Watch. The 1932 painting depicts one of the Spanish artist's companions and muses, the French painter Marie-Thérèse Walter, and could fetch more than $120 million. This painting belongs to the wealthy New Yorker Emily Fisher Landau, who died this year at the age of 102, and whose collection of Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol will be offered for auction during a special evening on Wednesday in Manhattan .
For this Landau collection alone, Sotheby's is counting on $400 million. According to Julian Dawes, head of impressionist and modern art sales at this house, the painting by the Spanish master “is a masterpiece in all its dimensions (...) painted in 1932, “annus mirabilis” (year of miracles). ) for Picasso.”Marie-Thérèse Walter was Picasso’s “golden muse”, his muse whom he met in 1927 in Paris when he was married to the Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova.
The same Walter had been painted by Picasso in Sleeping Woman (1934) and the painting will be auctioned on Thursday by Christie's, which hopes for 25 to 35 million dollars. Already in 2021, Christie's sold Woman Seated Near a Window (Marie-Thérèse) for $103 million.
Christie's will also offer a painting by the highly prized Rothko, a modern American painter who died in 1970, with Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) from 1955 and estimated "around $45 million", Emily Kaplan told AFP , patron saint of sales of 20th century works.
As for the Impressionists, a masterpiece by Claude Monet, Le bassin aux nymphéas (1917-1919) will also go under the hammer at Christie's, which however does not reveal its estimate. At competitor Sotheby's, Poplars on the Banks of the Epte, Overcast Weather (1891) by the same Monet will be sold on Monday for between 30 and 40 million dollars.
One of the highlights of these fall sales, however, will not be a painting or a sculpture, but a car. The luxury automobile subsidiary RM Sotheby's will auction a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO on Monday for a price of “more than $60 million,” one of its managers, Michael Caimano, told AFP.
Owned by an American collector for 40 years, this example of this legendary Italian should be the most expensive Ferrari 250 GTO ever sold: this same sports car was purchased in 2018, at RM Sotheby's, for $48 million. And if it leaves at the estimated price, this Ferrari will be the second most expensive car ever sold in the world: behind one of only two examples of the Mercedes Coupé 300 SLR Uhlenhaut from 1955, sold for 135 million euros by RM Sotheby's and Mercedes-Benz at confidential auction in 2022 at the German manufacturer's museum in Stuttgart.
“Whatever happens on the financial markets, a car of this caliber is a collector's item, a unique opportunity in the life of a collector,” says Mr. Caimano, comparing it to a work of art that one “can touch, smell and hear”.
Auction houses are delighted with a healthy art and luxury market, driven by China and “with no indication” of a slowdown, Kelsey Reed Leonard, head of auction sales, told AFP. contemporary art at Sotheby's. Even the “small” of the sector, Phillips, will offer July 14th by the cubist painter Fernand Léger next Tuesday for 15 to 20 million dollars.