A quick update on my Sotheby's post of last month where I managed to catch these and other pieces in London before they went to auction in New York. Auction sales records were again smashed at Sotheby's sale in New York last week. The star lot was Giacometti's Chariot (1951), above. As predicted it caused a sensation when it sold for $100million which makes it the second most expensive sculpture ever, (the most expensive being his Walking Man sculpture which realised $104million four years ago). Chariot is one of a very limited edition and this is one of only two which were enhanced with paint, and held in private collections. It is interesting to see the profile of sculpture being raised and now commanding the prices traditionally reserved for oil paintings.
Also commanding attention and a record breaking price for the artist of $70.7 million in the sale was Amedeo Modigliani's Tete (Head), carved from a single piece of limestone scavenged from a Parisian building site. I thought this piece was beautiful and had thought it would do well but was surprised at the price it made. It was however the first time it has appeared at auction so I can imagine the frenzied bidding from collectors on the night eager to own it.
Lastly, Van Gogh's still life painting, Vase with Daisies and Poppies, achieved a figure of $50 million and was one of the very few paintings that Van Gogh actually managed to sell during his lifetime. Although not an auction record for this particular artist, it is still a significant amount to be paid for any artists work. It was painted with flowers gathered from Dr Gachet's garden whilst he stayed with the doctor during a period of recuperation. On the night Sotheby's recorded their most successful sale in the company's history realising £263.9 million in sales.