Kurt Schwitters' Ja-Was?-Bild sets new artist record in London sale

Kurt Schwitters' Ja-Was?-Bild (1920) has set a new record for his work, in a sale of impressionist and modern art at Christie's London on June 24.

The lot achieved £13.9m ($23.7m) - up 131.6% on its £6m ($10.2m) estimate.

Schwitters Bild Christie's
Ja-Was?-Bild has set a new auction record for a work by Kurt Schwitters

It eclipsed the previous record of £1.2m ($2m) set at Christie's London in 2012 by a substantial 1,058%.

The work was created out of scrap, including posters and tin cans, in the aftermath of the first world war.

Schwitters told Schmalenbach for his 1965 biography: "I felt myself freed and had to shout my jubilation out to the world. Out of parsimony I took whatever I found to do this, because we were now a poor country.

"One can even shout out through refuse, and this is what I did, nailing and gluing it together. I called it 'Merz', it was a prayer about the victorious end of the war, victorious as once again peace had won in the end."

The work is likely to have sold as well as it did due to its size (it's one of the artist's largest canvases) and the scarcity of his work on the private market.

Alberto Giacometti's Femme de Venise II was another highlight, achieving £9m ($15.3m).

The lot, a standing woman cast in bronze, was created for the French pavilion at the 1956 Venice Biennale.

Giacometti's Grand Tete de Diego made $50m at Sotheby's New York in November last year.

Sotheby's impressionist and modern sale in London on June 23 included a work from Monet's Nympheas series, which sold for £31.7m ($54m).

You can check out our range of art and photography memorabilia here.

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