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Van Gogh, Warhol works spark interest

NEW YORK — Vincent Van Gogh’s bright flowers, Andy Warhol’s macho Marlon Brando and Alberto Giacometti’s chariot are among the works expected to fetch top prices at auctions of about $1.8 billion of art in New York.

Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips will offer 2,300 lots during two weeks of day and evening sales of impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art starting Tuesday. The estimate by the auction houses is expected to surpass the $1.8 billion total from last November but may not match the $2.2 billion record set in May in New York.

“There’s excitement because certain works that have been in private collections for a long time are now coming to auction,” said Pilar Ordovas, whose contemporary art gallery, Ordovas, is based in London. “If these trophy works get strong results, then prices will come up overall. We may see collectors who weren’t sellers become sellers. It may become the right situation for them.”

A painted bronze sculpture of a chariot by Giacometti from 1951-1952 that has been in the same private collection for more than four decades is valued at more than $100 million at Sotheby’s Nov. 4 Impressionist and modern sale. Giacometti’s “Walking Man” bronze sculpture sold for $103.4 million in 2010 at Sotheby’s in London. Sotheby’s is offering Van Gogh’s 1890 still life of orange, red and blue wildflowers, valued at $30 million to $50 million. “Still Life, Vase With Daisies and Poppies” was on view for the past 30 years at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

Edouard Manet’s “Le Printemps,” offered Wednesday at Christie’s Impressionist and modern sale, was in the same collection for more than a century and has been on loan for the past two decades at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. It’s valued at $25 million to $35 million. In this sale, 90 percent of the 40 lots have been in private collections for a decade or more, Christie’s said.

Postwar and contemporary art sales carry high presale price tags. Christie’s will offer 22 lots worth more than $10 million at its evening and day sales Nov. 12 and 13, and 10 lots are estimated to exceed $20 million.

Leading Christie’s Nov. 12 evening auction are two paintings by Warhol — a 1963 triple screen print of Elvis Presley in monochrome silver paint, and a 1966 black and white screen print of Brando on a motorcycle, “Four Marlons.” Each is more than 6-feet tall and estimated at about $60 million.

Francis Bacon’s 5-foot high canvas from 1960 that’s part of the late artist’s series of Papal portraits is projected to sell for $40 million to $60 million. A Bacon triptych that sold for $142.4 million at Christie’s in 2013 holds the overall auction record.

The collections of some of the 20th century’s biggest philanthropists and industrialists will be incorporated into the two weeks of auctions. On Nov. 10, Sotheby’s will host a stand- alone sale of oil heiress and philanthropist Bunny Mellon’s art, when two paintings by Mark Rothko are estimated to sell for as much as $20 million and $30 million, respectively.

Picasso Abstract At Sotheby’s, 16 works will be offered from the collection of Sao and Pierre Schlumberger, whose family founded the oil exploration company. One highlight is Pablo Picasso’s “Les Enfants,” a semi-abstract picture of two children estimated at $5 million to $7 million.

Sotheby’s will also sell work from billionaire car magnate Norman Braman’s family foundation. Works include a 15-foot tall bronze sculpture by Joan Miro, which has an estimate of $6 million to $7 million, and an early, pastel landscape by Paul Gauguin, estimated at $4 million to $6 million.


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