LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - The London auction scene is on the boil again, with Sotheby’s offering a Monet view of Venice for an estimated 20 million-30 million pounds ($30 million-$45 million) while Christie’s expects its main surreal, modernist and impressionist evening sales to fetch up to 134 million pounds.
The two big auction houses are squaring off for another big round of sales in February aimed at an art market that has drawn Asian, Russian and Latin American buyers, but still generates big sales to traditional clients in Europe and the United States.
Sotheby’s is banking on broad global interest for its offering of Monet’s “Le Grand Canal” of 1908, which was on loan to The National Gallery in London from 2006-14.
“The market for works by Claude Monet has now reached an all-time point of strength, with bidders coming from four times as many countries as a decade ago,” Helena Newman, Sotheby’s co-head of impressionist and modern art worldwide, said in a statement.
“Given the painting’s rarity and exceptional quality, and the strong price of 19.7 million pounds achieved when we sold Monet’s Venice view ‘Le Palais Contarini’ in 2013, we anticipate enthusiastic global interest prior to the sale in February.”
Christie‘s, which had previously announced it would be selling Cezanne’s Mediterranean landscape “Vue sur L‘Estaque et Le Chateau d‘If”, with a pre-sale estimate of 8 million-12 million pounds, in February, said on Thursday it also will be auctioning a large range of surrealist art.
The 36 lots include Joan Miro’s “L‘oiseau au plumage deploye vole vers l‘arbre argente” from 1953, estimated at 7 million-9 million pounds. Also in the sale are works by Magritte, Chagall, Picabia, Arp, Ernst, Tanguy and Dominguez, Christie’s said.
Olivier Camu, deputy chairman of impressionist and modern art for Christie‘s, said the surrealist sale was the “strongest and most valuable” grouping of such works the house had ever offered and was attracting strong interest among buyers.
“They realise, together with the modern classical collectors, that surrealism is still not that expensive,” he said in a telephone interview.
“It’s been undervalued for long and still is. Now that’s gradually, slowly coming up, and together with 15 years of surrealist sales and new records...the sale is crystallising that interest.”
Christie’s said that in addition to the Cezanne, the 44 works in its impressionist and modern art sale include works by Modigliani, Giacometti, Gris and Braque.
Christie’s said its evening sale of impressionist, modern and surrealist art on Feb. 4 could fetch 92.8 million-133.8 million pounds.
$1 = 0.6619 pounds Editing by Leslie Adler