Rare van Gogh painting fetches $61M at auction
NEW YORK — A rare piece of artwork painted by Vincent van Gogh weeks before his death sold for $61.8 million Tuesday in a sale kicking off New York City’s fall art auctions of impressionist and modern art.
The 1890 painting, “Still Life, Vase With Daisies and Poppies,” was expected to fetch between $30 million and $50 million in Sotheby’s evening sale in Manhattan.
Van Gogh painted the bouquet of wildflowers at the French home of his physician, Dr. Paul Gachet, in 1890. It’s one of the few works the Dutch artist sold during his lifetime.
One of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art, A. Conger Goodyear, acquired it in 1928. It remained in the family for decades and was on permanent exhibition at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo for 30 years. The most recent owner bought it about 1990.
The auction record for a van Gogh is $82.5 million.
The big-ticket auction at Sotheby’s brought in $101 million for “Chariot,” a rare sculpture by Alberto Giacometti. The bronze sculpture features an elongated goddesslike figure perched atop a wheeled chariot. The price almost broke the $104.3 million record for the Swiss artist.
The 1951 piece, embellished with paint to enrich the textural quality of the bronze, has been in the same collection for more than 40 years. Giacometti made six casts of the “Chariot” during his lifetime. The one sold Tuesday is one of only two painted examples.
Another important sculpture sold at the auction was Amedeo Modigliani’s “Tete.” It fetched $70.7 million, just topping the previous auction record for the artist at $69 million.
The deitylike elongated head was carved in 1911 and 1912 from a block of limestone scavenged from a Paris construction site. It had a presale estimate of $45 million.
The major fall sales continue Wednesday at Christie’s. Among the highlights is a celebrated portrait of a Parisian actress by Edouard Manet. “Spring” has a presale estimate of $25 million to $35 million.