Gauguin's $15.5m 'Sunflower' masterpiece leads Christie's impressionist sale

Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Auction and the sale of The Art of the Surreal will take place on February 9.

Total sales at the event are expected to bring between £73.88m and £109.6m. This makes it the second highest pre-sale estimate for the February Impressionist sales at Christie's London.

In comparison, the pre-sale estimate for the auctioneer's 2010 sale was £56.5m to £80.8m.

The leading highlight of the sales is Nature morte à "L'Espérance", an historically important still life painted by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) in 1901 while he was living in Tahiti.

Adding to the work's provenance is its prior display at over 20 major museum exhibitions including the artist's first landmark Retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1906. It is expected to realise £7m-10m ($15,539,700).

Nature morte à "L'Espérance" by Paul Gauguin

Meanwhile, four works to be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago are led by Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge) by Georges Braque (1882-1963) (estimated at £3.5m to £5.5m).

"2010 was a landmark year for the art market that witnessed record sales and results," said Giovanna Bertazzoni, Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie's London.

"This was driven in a significant way by the demand for rare and market-fresh works of Impressionist and Modern art. [These] represented seven of the top 10 prices paid last year at auction, six of which sold for over $50m.

"The category continues to engage new collectors from both established and [emerging] markets, including China and Russia - and where there is a healthy supply it has been shown that there is a tremendous demand for the rarest and the best."

Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge) by Georges Braque

Christie's upcoming auction in February will offer a significantly high number of impressive works that have been in private hands for decades. Watch this space for more news on the event.

Nature morte à "L'Espérance" by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)

The work was executed in 1901 and is one of four paintings of sunflowers painted by the artist in that year as a tribute to his friend and fellow artistic pioneer Vincent van Gogh. It has been unseen in public since 1989.

The work was shown at the artist's first landmark Retrospective in 1906, and has subsequently featured in over 20 major Museum exhibitions.

It has appeared at, among other places, MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, Tate London and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.


Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today 

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock