Photographer: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby

Kandinsky Record Broken Twice as Painting Fetches $42 Million

  • Leon Black is said to be seller of a $23 million Giacometti
  • Sotheby’s U.K. auction tallies $161 million, up from year ago

Talk about a quick brush stroke. Wassily Kandinsky’s auction record was broken twice on the same evening -- minutes apart.

Bild mit weissen Linien by Wassily Kandinsky.

Source: Sotheby’s

The 20th century Russian artist’s richly colored 1913 canvas “Bild mit Weissen Linien (Painting With White Lines)” soared to 33 million pounds ($41.6 million) at Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art sale in London. His lush 1909 landscape with a green house had just sold for $26.4 million, beating the artist’s previous record of $23.3 million.

At least four hopefuls chased after the 1913 work, which had been estimated at more than $35 million, during a 13-minute bidding war. The buyer was Hugo Nathan, director and co-founder of Beaumont Nathan art advisory based in London, who was in the room and bid on behalf of a client. Prices include fees charged by the auction house; estimates don’t.

The auction set three new artist records altogether and tallied about $161 million, compared with $152 million a year ago. Joan Miro’s “Femme et Oiseaux” sold for $31 million. Estimated at more than $30 million, it attracted a single bidder.

Femme et oiseaux by Joan Miró.

Source: Sotheby’s

Another highlight was Alberto Giacometti’s elongated sculpture of a female nude that went for $22.6 million. The seller was billionaire Leon Black, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Titled “Grande Figure,” the unique cast from 1948 was sold anonymously. Sotheby’s declined to comment on the seller’s identity. Black, chief executive officer of buyout firm Apollo Global Management LLC, declined to comment through spokesman Charles Zehren.

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