Weekly Roundup: Record Breaking Impressionist & Modern Sales in London and More

When Will You Marry

Record-breaking sales of Impressionist and Modern art took London auction houses by storm this past week. In case you missed it, here’s what made headlines:

Paul Gauguin painting sells for record $300 million
A colorful painting of two Tahitian women by Paul Gauguin has been sold from a Swiss private collection for close to $300 million, one of the highest prices believed to have been paid for an artwork. The sale of the 1892 oil painting Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?), was confirmed by the seller Rudolf Staechlin, 62, a retired Sotheby’s executive living in Basel, Switzerland, who through a family trust owns more than 20 works in a valuable colleciton of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, including the Gauguin, which has been on lean to the Kunstmuseum Basel for nearly a half-century. Qatar Museums is rumored to have purchased the piece. [New York Times]

Rare Gustav Klimt drawing discovered by San Francisco gallery
San Francisco-based art gallery, Lost Art Salon, announced the discovery of a previously unknown, double-sided Gustav Klimt drawing. Purchased in an auction lot of unidentified works on paper and then later verified by the Albertina Museum in Vienna, the drawing stylistically corresponds with a group of studies made for Klimt’s 1898 painting, Portrait of Sonja Kips. This previously unseen drawing will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at the gallery, “Time Capsule: A Lost Klimt and Other Viennese Treasures,” as well as in the forthcoming Supplement Volume of the Catalogue Raisonne of Klimt drawings by the Albertina Museum. [Artdaily]

Michelangelo’s only surviving bronzes discovered
Two previously unknown bronzes by Michelangelo were unveiled this week at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Academics suggest that the pair of mysterious meter-high sculptures known as the Rothschild Bronzes are by the Renaissance master himself, made just after he completed David and as he was about to embark on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. If correct, they are the only surviving Michelangelo bronzes in the world. The sculptures will be on display at the Fitzwilliam from February 3rd to August 9th, with a book of the discovery, and more findings and research will be presented at an international conference on July 6th. [The Guardian]

Monet paintings sell for £55 million at Sotheby’s London
Five Paintings by French impressionist Claude Monet sold for a total of $84 million at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale which helped raise a record of $283 million from the overall sale on Tuesday. Monet’s paintings sold included his famous 1908 Le Grand Canal view of Venice, which sold for $35.6 million. The sale, which also incuded paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Matisse, and sculptures by Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin, achieved £186.5 million. [ rel=”nofollow”>International Business Times]

Christie’s Surrealism Sale breaks the $100 million mark
Christie’s has held the first ever Surrealism sale to break the $100 million mark. Registered bidders came from 34 countries across five continents for the Evening Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art and The Art of the Surreal that took place at Christie’s London on February 4th. The sale realized a combined total of almost $223 million, selling 88% by lot and 94% by value. The top price of the night was $23.5 million for Spanish Surrealist Joan Miró. In total, 45 works of art sold for over $1 million. [Artlyst]

Corcoran Gallery Art transforms National Gallery
The National Gallery of Art has announced the acquisition of 6,430 artworks from the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s collection, out of the 17,000 pieces that are currently in the NGA’s custody. The announcement comes in the aftermath of a bitter legal battle to save the financially struggling Corcoran Gallery from its dissolution as an independent entity, and a joint take over by the NGA and the George Washington University. The museum’s holdings of 1,215 American paintings alone will grow by 226, including beloved works like Frederic Edwin Church’s 1857 Niagra. [artnet news]

IMAGE: Detail of Paul Gauguin, Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?), 1892