George Grosz watercolour sells for $1.3m

Christie's recent auctions of 19th century and modern art produced some satisfying broken estimates this week.

Giorgio de Chirico's 1921 oil on canvas work L'Amore del Mondo, nearly doubled its lower estimate of $500,000 to sell for $902,500, whilst Barbara Hepworth's 1970 bronze sculpture Makutu sold for $638,500, more than doubling its highest expected price.

Some 19th century works also did well, with Cézanne's oil painting Moulin á l'Huile, often seen as a key painting in the artist's development, easily beat the $400,000-600,000 range to be taken away at $698,500.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir still life Compotier de Fruits
Renoir's Compotier de Fruits

Renoir concentrated much of his efforts on still life after 1880 and his classic 1890 oil on canvas Compotier de Fruits more than doubled its estimate of $250,000 to sell for $506,500.

But there was no doubt of the biggest success story.

George Grosz's 1921 painting watercolour and ink painting, Der neue Mensch, represents an interesting phase for the artist when he had moved away from his variation on the expressionist style to use a modernist style highlighting the recent tendency to mechanistic, purist and constructivist views.

Der neue Mensch George Grosz
Der neue Mensch by George Grosz

The work provoked enormous interest and competition from bidders to sell for a clear $1m over its lower valuation of $300,000, being taken away for $1.31m.

Bidding of equal strength from America and Europe and across all artistic media is very encouraging news for the art market.

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