A Cubist still life by Juan Gris fetched 34.8 million pounds ($56.8 million) at Christie’s International in London today, almost doubling the previous auction record for the Spanish artist.
Painted in 1915, “Nature Morte a la Nappe a Carreaux” (“The Checked Tablecloth”) depicts a mount of objects, including a newspaper, a guitar and grapes on a checked tablecloth. Consigned by a private Swiss collector, it was estimated at 12 million to 18 million pounds, the auction house said. The final sale price includes buyer’s premium.
Christie’s evening sale of Impressionist, modern and Surrealist art kicked off two weeks of semiannual auctions in London, the first major test of the art market in 2014. The previous record for Gris (1887-1927) was set in 2010 when his 1913 painting of a violin and a guitar sold for $28.6 million at Christie’s in New York.
Earlier in today’s sale, Alberto Giacometti’s bronze sculpture of three small walking men on a platform, consigned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, went for 9 million pounds, surpassing the high estimate of 8 million pounds. The work, “Trois Hommes qui Marchent I,” was cast in about 1951. A much larger version of a single walking man fetched 65 million pounds in 2010 at Sotheby’s, then an auction record for any artwork.
Pablo Picasso’s 1955 portrait of his lover Jacqueline Roque dressed as an odalisque, or harem concubine, generated 16.9 million pounds, compared with a presale estimate of 15 million to 20 million pounds.
Another Picasso, a small 1937 still life, failed to find a buyer.
The auction was truncated after Christie’s withdrew a collection of paintings, drawing, sculptures and collages by Joan Miro. The works, part of the collection “Miro: Seven Decades in His Art,” had been consigned by the Portuguese Republic before a legal dispute spurred the auction house to cancel their sale today.