Bucking the Traditional Auction Calendar, Christie’s Plans to Hold a Megawatt Livestreamed Modern Art Sale in October

The star lot is a Cézanne watercolor estimated at around $25 million.

Paul Cézanne, Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier (circa, 1900-1906 ). Image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.

Just a few months after pulling off a herculean logistical and technological effort with a four-city relay modern and contemporary art sale that drew in $421 million, Christie’s is back with details of its next major sale.

As part of its new fall “20th/21st Century” week in New York, a hybrid-style evening sale will be live-streamed on October 6 from Rockefeller Center, where auctioneer Adrien Meyer, chairman of global private sales, will conduct the auction in a room of specialists on phone banks.

There will also be remote phone-bidding streamed from salesrooms in London and Hong Kong, and online bidding via Christie’s live. Christie’s noted that this sale does not replace the November New York auction, and there will still be other major sales held in that month as well.

The first major lot announced for the October sale is a watercolor still life by Paul Cézanne, Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier (1900–06), which is estimated “in the region of $25 million.”

The painting comes from the collection of the late Edsel and Eleanor Ford, and is currently at their former home, now a museum, in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. Adding to its allure, the painting was featured at the first-ever show at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1929. Edsel Ford acquired it in 1933.

Christie's New York team handling bids for the ONE sale on July 10. Image courtesy Christie's.

Christie’s New York team handling bids for the “ONE” sale on July 10. Image courtesy of Christie’s.

The Cézanne and other highlights will be part of a global tour ahead of the sale with by-appointment viewings in Hong Kong (September 1–4) and London (September 9–11).

Commenting on the robust market of the past few months, Christie’s chairman Alex Rotter said collectors have proven more than willing to take advantage of a wide range of bidding platforms.

“They are buying works across categories, and they certainly are not glued to the conventional auction schedule,” he said.

Rotter said the sale will benefit from a range of digital and remote-bidding advancements that the auction house has made since the beginning of the year, and even in the short time since it held its July relay auction.

In addition to its new schedule in New York, Christie’s is rescheduling its London and Paris auctions. They will now be held in both cites on October 22, coinciding with the FIAC art fair. There will also be an exhibition opening on October 6 during London’s Frieze Week.

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