For buyers of 19th, 20th and 21st century art, spring means one thing: auctions.
The New York branches of Sotheby's and Christie's hold their star-studded Impressionist and Modern sales this week, followed by Contemporary and Post-War sales the second week of May. Also this month, Bonham's, Phillips de Pury and Doyle auction off Modern and Contemporary works.
Many of the Warhols, Picassos and Monets on the chopping block will go for millions. But some works will sell for less this spring.
"The beauty of the art market--especially the auction art market--is that there's a painting for every purse," said Mike Moses, a retired N.Y.U. professor who created his own fine arts index. "No matter how much you earn, you can find a painting."
Most of us can't afford to buy, but we can browse what's for sale in the days leading up to this spring's auctions. Here's a guide to who's selling what this season:
Impressionist and Modern Art sales at Sotheby's The big works of this spring's Impressionist and Modern sale at Sotheby's will be auctioned off this Tuesday night. Highlights include ten paintings by Pablo Picasso, including Lot 21: "Femmes lisant (Deux Personnages)," a 1934 oil portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter. The work is estimated to sell for up to $35 million. Lot 8 may also be of interest: Paul Gauguin's sculpture made of tamanu wood, pasted paper, red coral and shell called "Jeune tahitienne." The sculpture was carved during Gauguin's first trip to Tahiti between 1890 and 1893. The work has, according to Sotheby's, not been seen in public in 50 years and is estimated to sell for up to $15 million. Lot 12, Alexej von Jawlensky's "Frau mit grünem Fächer (Woman with a green Fan)" from 1912, is expected to sell for between $8 and $12 million. Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art evening sales takes place at 7 P.M. on Tuesday, May 3, and at 10 A.M. on Wednesday, May 4.
Impressionist and Modern Art sales at Christie's Highlights from the Christie's Impressionist and Modern sales include Maurice de Vlaminck's "Paysage de banlieue," an oil on canvas expected to go for between $18 and $25 million and a Claude Monet oil painted in 1891, "Les Peupliers," which could sell for as much as $30 million. A signed Picasso oil, "Les enfants et les jouets," is expected to go for between $5.5 and $7.5 million. The evening auction at Christie's kicks off at 7 P.M. on Wednesday May 4. On Thursday, May 5, bidding begins at 10 A.M.
Modern and Contemporary Art sales at Bonham's Bonham's New York's modern and contemporary auctions will be simulcast in Los Angeles. "Leading lots include a solid gold mini trash can by James Rosenquist, a rare example of the Impressionist portraiture by Eva Gonzales, and an Isamu Noguchi sculpture that marks a redirection of his artistic practice," Tate Dougherty, a specialist at Bonham's, wrote to WNYC in an e-mail. $200,000 will get you the Gonzales pastel on canvas, "Une mariee." The Noguchi 1945 wood and bone sculpture is expected to go for up to $400,000, while the James Rosenquist 18-karat gold "Calyx Krater Trash Can" is expected to sell for between $20,000 and $30,000. The sale starts Monday, May 9 at 1:00 P.M.
Contemporary Art sales at Sotheby's At the Sotheby's contemporary evening sale, Lot 10, Jeff Koons' "Pink Panther" sculpture, is expected to sell for up to $30 million. The porcelain work was created in 1988 and is 41 inches tall. Lot 21, Andy Warhol's "Sixteen Jackies," is expected to go for $30 million, too. He made the silkscreen with acrylic paint and ink in 1964. Willem De Kooning's made "Untitled VII" in 1986. The oil painting is expected to sell for between $4 and $6 million. Sotheby's evening contemporary art sale starts at 7 P.M. on Tuesday, May 10. Bidding for the day sale on Wednesday, May 11 starts at 10 A.M.
Post-War and Contemporary Art sales at Christie's Works up for auction at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary art sales include two Warhol self-portraits--one from 1964 and one from 1986. Together, the Warhols are valued at $70 million. Also on the auction block are Mark Rothko's red and orange "Untitled No. 17," which is expected to sell for between $18 and $22 million, and Robert Rauschenberg's 1957 "The Tower," hoped to go for $18 million. The sales are stretched over two days, beginning on Wednesday, May 11 at 7 P.M. and ending Thursday May 12 after the 10 A.M. auction.
Contemporary Art sales at Phillips de Pury At Phillips de Pury's contemporary sales, highlights include the Andy Warhol works "Liz #5," a silkscreen of the late Elizabeth Taylor, and "Flowers," which is expected to net up to $12 million. Also expected to go for millions are Roy Lichtenstein's "Still life with Mirror" from 1972; Richard Prince's "Crashed (Wayward Nurse)," which was made in the last decade; and "Green White" by Ellsworth Kelly. Buyers with $500,000 can bid on Lichtenstein's "New Born," which was made in 1988 or John Wesley's 1982 "3 Sunbathers." The evening contemporary sale at Phillips takes place at 7 P.M. on Thursday May 12. The contemporary day sale starts at 10 A.M. on Friday, May 13.
Modern and Contemporary Art sales at Doyle New York Rounding out the month of May's major sales, is Doyle's Modern and Contemporary sale. Highlights include Marino Marini's 1953 "Small Dancer," which is expected to get between $50,000 and $70,000; Theodore Stamos' signed 1952 "Stamos (II), hoped to sell for up to $60,000; and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's "Zwei Akte im Wald," which is expected to sell for between $20,000 and $30,000. Bidding starts at 10 A.M. on Wednesday, May 25.
To see a slideshow of spring auction highlights, check out the slideshow below.
All prices listed exclude auction house fees.