One of Claude Monet’s iconic haystack paintings, “Meules” (1890), sold for $110,747,000 at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on May 14, becoming the first Impressionist to surpass a $100 million price tag at auction, and setting a record for the French artist. The painting is one of only four paintings from Monet’s Haystacks series to come to auction in the 21st century. The sale brought in a total of $349,859,150.
Christie’s New York successfully sold the Jeff Koons sculpture “Rabbit” (1986) for $91.07 million with fees during the auction houses’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The purchase helped the artist reclaim his position as the world’s most expensive living artist on Wednesday night, narrowly beating David Hockney’s $90.3 million November record for “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” (1972). Overall, the sculpture helped bring the night’s total to $538.97 million including fees, surpassing the low estimate of $422.25 million but missing the high $605.15 million benchmark. Still, the total exceeded last year’s equivalent sale, which grossed $397.15 million. Other artists included in the sale achieved their own world records, including Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeois, Frank Stella, Larry Rivers, Daniel Buren, Jonas Wood, and Bruce Nauman.
The van Gogh Museum has acquired three new pieces for its collection: a letter from Vincent van Gogh to art critic Albert Aurier; Gustave Caillebotte’s still life “Plate with Peaches” (c. 1882); and Gabriele Münter’s painting “House in the Winter Sun” (1909). All three works went on display on May 9 in a special presentation featuring 13 acquisitions from the past 13 years to commemorate Axel Rüger’s 13 years as Director of the van Gogh Museum.
The Smithsonian Museum has received a blue Marchesa gown worn by Constance Wu in the film Crazy Rich Asians. The dress is being donated by designer Georgina Chapman (Harvey Weinstein’s ex-wife) to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington. The so-called “Cinderella” dress has become an important symbol of the Hollywood film’s all-Asian cast and will be presented to the institution for a party celebrating Asian Pacific Americans on Saturday.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri has acquired Liza Lou’s “Noctilucent” in celebration of the Museum’s 25th anniversary. The work was purchased through funds acquired from the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee. The work is on display in the current exhibition, Lexicon: The Language of Gesture in 25 Years at Kemper Museum, which opened today. “‘Notilucent’ is a stunning work,” said Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs at Kemper Museum. “It is strong, layered, and poetic. In addition to its visual impact, this is also a work that expresses Kemper Museum’s passion for sustaining meaningful relationships with artists throughout their careers.”
Pérez Art Museum Miami has added to its collection works by 11 artists: Maria Berrio, Carlos Estévez, Teresita Fernández, Derek Fordjour, Abbas Kiarostami, Hun Kyu Kim, Pierre Malphettes, Christina Pettersson, Anastasia Samoylova, Barthélémy Toguo, and Cecilia Vicuña. [via email announcement]
Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Works on Paper sale in New York brought in a total of $12,847,375 on May 14. The sale’s top lot, Pablo Picasso’s “Femme nue couchée” (1965), sold for $1,239,000.
Christie’s sold Pablo Picasso’s “Colombe volant (à l’Arc-en-Ciel)” for £10,625 (~$13,595) during its Modern Edition online sale. Other lots included works by Marc Chagall, Georges Braque, and Joan Miro.
Christie’s also held its Art of Africa Masterworks sale on Tuesday, which brought in $4,996,250 including buyer’s premium. Lots included “A Guru Mask Representing Gu” from the Ivory Coast, which fetched $300,000. An object called the “Walfschot-Schoffel Kifwebe Mask” by the Songye Master Artist in the Democratic Republic of the Congo sold for $4,215,000.
Christie’s auction of “Dragon Throne for the Son of Heaven” earned £6,108,250 ($7,815414) after hammer in London.
Christie’s Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale in London, which included imperial porcelain, Buddhist bronzes, and Yixing pottery brought in £5,522,625 (~$7,066,116).
Sotheby’s sale of the SØR Rusche Collection Online brought in a total of £893,375 (~$1,153,000) on May 10. The sale’s top lot, Willem van Mieris’s “Ceres and Bacchus” (1701), sold for £87,500 (~$113,000).
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.