The Auction Block: Impressionist and Modern Art Special

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Sotheby’s “Nu Couché,” 1917 Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920) Estimate: $150 million Auction Date: May 14 Leading the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s is Modigliani’s “Nu couché,” a masterpiece from his 1917 production and the largest canvas the artist ever painted. This is the highest estimate ever for a work of art at auction, though not the highest figure a work of art has sold for at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” fetched $450 million at Christie’s last year).

Doyle New York
“Night Suspect (A British Coast Guard Cutter in Pursuit)”
Montague Dawson (1890–1973)
Estimate: $50,000 – $80,000
Auction Date: May 9
The painting depicts the dramatic chase on a moonlit night by the British Coast Guard, firing a canon at suspected smugglers in the English Channel. The son of a sea captain, Montague Dawson served in the Royal Navy in World War I. In World War II, he was an official war artist, painting encounters by the Royal Navy.

Freeman’s
“Bowl of Flowers with Fuchsia,” c. 1930
Emil Nolde (1867–1956)
Estimate: $50,000 – $80,000
Auction Date: May 8
Expressionist painter Emil Nolde first began to explore watercolor in the 1890s. His experimentation with the medium played a significant role in the development of his artistic identity. He preferred using absorbent Japan paper, which he moistened slightly before saturating it with paint-soaked brushes. As a result, the colors would blossom on the paper, overlapping with each other and revealing luminous depth, subtle transitions and nuanced tones.

Christie’s
“Le Marin,” 1943
Pablo Picasso (1881–1973)
Estimate: $70 million
Auction Date: May 15
“Le Marin” dates from some of the darkest days of Picasso’s life. Denounced by Hitler and known the world over for “Guernica,” his powerful anti-fascist statement, Picasso had received offers to flee France. By the summer of 1940, however, as German forces occupied the capital, he moved permanently into his cavernous Left Bank studio, where — suffering food shortages, curfews and blackouts, and living under the constant threat of Nazi suspicion — he continued to work as the war raged on.

Bonhams
“Acrobati e cavallo”
Marino Marini (1901–1980)
Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000
Auction Date: May 15
Imbued with both playfulness and pathos, “Acrobati e cavallo” is a magnificent amalgamation of two of Marini’s favorite themes: theatricality and the horse and rider. The joy Marini found in the medium of painting is evident in the thickly applied impasto of the present work. The proud posturing of his figures gives forth a sense of grandeur and nostalgia for the classical world.

BRINGING THE HAMMER DOWN
Final selling prices for noteworthy items at recent auctions  

Christie’s
“La Lettre”
Paul-César Helleu (1859–1927)
Auction Date: March 22-23
Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000
Final Selling Price: $600,500

Bonhams
“Tiburon”
Selden Connor Gile (1877–1947)
Auction Date: April 24
Final Selling Price: $83,750

Doyle New York
“Flower Border I”
Mary Elizabeth Price (1877–1965)
Auction Date: March 19
Estimate: $60,000 – $100,000
Final Selling Price: $306,250

Sotheby’s
Fancy Intense Blue Diamond Ring
Auction Date: April 18
Estimate $2 million – $2.5 million
Final Selling Price: $6,663,300
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