Christie's art sale in London brings in $113 million

London auction season opening with Christie’s Impressionist and Modern sale, bringing solid results and $113 million

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Christie's kept the international art auction caravan rolling with an impressionist and modern art sale that brought in $113 million on Tuesday.

A Claude Monet study of mauve irises swaying against a pale blue sky in his Giverny garden was the star lot at $17 million. A 1969 Pablo Picasso head, with all the startling vigor of his old age, came in next at $7 million.

Jay Vincze, international director and head of department, said the results showed the super rich were still keen to buy art after two weeks of sales in New York in May brought in well over $2 billion at Christie's and rival Sotheby's.

Buyers routinely remained anonymous but Vincze said they came from across 32 countries, with Asia still strong and combining with interest from Russia and the United States.

"We saw good strong American buying in February [in London] and that was reflected again tonight," Vincze told Reuters after the evening sale.

Sotheby's holds its equivalent London impressionist and modern evening sale on Wednesday.

Christie's, founded in 1766 and now owned by French retail magnate Francois Pinault's holding company Artemis SA, had global auction and private sales in 2014 that totaled $8.4 billion, its highest ever.

At the New York sale in May, Christie's scored a new record for history's top auction price with Picasso's "Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O')," which fetched $179.4 million.