Nearly 90 Percent of the Value of Sotheby’s London’s Modern Art Sale is in Just Three Works

Each of the works has been off the market for at least a decade.

Amedeo Modigliani, Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard), 1919. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.
Amedeo Modigliani, Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard), 1919. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.

A trio of artworks, by Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, and Auguste Rodin, may account for as much as 87.5 percent of the total of Sotheby’s London’s Impressionist and modern art auction, which takes place June 21. The estimated prices of the three works total nearly $100 million; the low estimate on the 25-lot sale overall is about $115 million.

All three works depict women; each has come to auction once before but has been off the market for at least a decade.

The three works are Picasso’s Femme assise (1909), tagged in excess of $42.6 million; Modigliani’s Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard) (1919), estimated in excess of $40 million; and Rodin’s Eve (conceived 1881, cast between 1925 and 1940), which is expected to bring up to $17 million. They dominate the lineup for a sale that also includes works by Edvard Munch, Paul Gauguin, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others.

Pablo Picasso, <i>Femme assise</i>, 1909. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.

Pablo Picasso, Femme assise, 1909. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Of those top three lots, only the Modigliani is guaranteed to sell, according to the house.

The dramatic concentration of value at the top of the sale is further illustrated by the fourth-priciest lot, a Gauguin still life assigned a high estimate of a mere $4 million.

Picasso’s canvas, based on the features of his lover Fernande Olivier, has been off the market since 1973, when the winning bidder picked it up at Sotheby’s for £340,000. It’s been included in exhibitions at museums including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Tate in London, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Modigliani’s canvas also shows the artist’s lover, Jeanne Hébuterne, and dates from the year before his death, after which Hébuterne would commit suicide. The seller picked it up at Christie’s London in 1986, for just $2.9 million, according to artnet’s Price Database.

Auguste Rodin, <i>Ève, grand modèle – version sans rocher à la base carrée</i>, conceived 1881, cast between 1925 and 1940. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.

Auguste Rodin, Ève, grand modèle – version sans rocher à la base carrée, conceived 1881, cast between 1925 and 1940. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Rodin’s sculpture was in the hands of Sylvester Stallone for some 14 years; he sold it at Sotheby’s New York in 1998 for $1 million, per artnet’s Price Database.


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