On The Block: Monet, Hockney Lead Spring Sales

On The Block: Monet, Hockney Lead Spring Sales

Top auction houses entered 2019 with rival announcements of the key works that will headline the first spring sales.

On December 17, Christie’s said that it had secured a double portrait by David Hockney. Sotheby’s announced on December 23 that it was to offer an enchanting vision of Venice by Claude Monet. Either of these banner works will be ideal for a collector with some $30 million to spare and determined to get first bragging rights for the New Year.

The Hockney is a large work from 1969 titled “Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott.” It is the final lot offered from the collection of the travel entrepreneur Barney A. Ebsworth, which has so far raised a total of $323.5 million. Ebsworth collected mainly American artists but made an exception for this Hockney, which will lead Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London on March 6 with an estimate in excess of £30 million ($37.8 million).

The Monet work at Sotheby’s will headline its London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on February 26. The oil-on-canvas “Le Palais Ducal,” dating from 1908, has an estimate of £20 million to £30 million ($25 million - $38 million).

The Fine Art Society, one of London’s oldest commercial galleries founded in 1876, has 300 works with smaller estimates. The Contemporary art gallery is bringing the curtain down on its 142 years on New Bond Street. It has now moved to Chelsea amid rising costs. The auction will include 11 prints by James McNeill Whistler, including another Venice picture, “The Rialto,” which may make as much as £10,000.

Phillips meanwhile has an intriguing selling exhibition in New York called “American African American” that runs through February. It follows on from a similar display in London and features works by Charles Alston, John Outterbridge, Romare Bearden, Betye Saar, Kehinde Wiley, Fred Wilson, Cameron Welsh and more. Prices will range from “less than $10,000 to several million dollars,” according to the auction house.

Elsewhere, Bonhams has a beautiful, almost photographic image by the Austrian painter Ludwig Deutsch, titled “The Musician” (estimate £300,000 to £500,000), in its sale of 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art on February 20. One of the highlights of its Impressionist and Modern Art event on February 28 is a male sculpture by Auguste Rodin, “L’age d’airain, petit modele” (estimate £100,000 to £150,000).

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