Sale of the Week, June 17-23: Summer Impressionist and Modern Evening Sales in London

A detail of Maurice de Vlaminck's "Les régates à Bougival," 1905, which is expected to fetch £3.5 million to £4.5 million at Christie's in London
(Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.)

SALE: Impressionist and Modern Evening Sales

LOCATION: Sotheby's and Christie's London

DATE: June 19-20

ABOUT: With most of the big New York sales behind us for the season, the art market moves to London, where a whirlwind of trophies is about to hit auction blocks at Christie's and Sotheby's. The Impressionist and modern auctions are up first, with the usual cast of characters dominating the evening sales: Picasso, Miró, Renoir, Signac, Monet.

Sotheby's has been touting Joan Miró's 1927 masterpiece "Peinture (Étoile Bleue)" for several weeks. It's a beautiful work by the Surrealist, and is likely to stir up a frenzy. The £15-20 million ($23.3-31 million) estimate is one of the highest ever given at Sotheby's London, and the symbol in the catalogue suggesting it's been given a pre-sale guarantee all but ensures that it will achieve a record price before bidding has even begun.

Beyond the Miró, one of the most stunning works hitting the block next week is Kees van Dongen's Fauvist "Lailla," which features a bright green nude woman whose face is shrouded by a dark cloak. The 1908 canvas is estimated to sell for £3.5-5 million ($5.4-7.8 million).

The likely top seller at Christie's is Renoir's "Baigneuse" (1888), a light, Impressionist depiction of a young nude woman bathing herself which has been owned by a number of prominent European collectors over the last century and a quarter, including a French prince. The auction house estimates it will fetch £12-18 million ($18.7-28 million).

There are also two late Picassos on offer in the £5-10 million ($7.8-15.5 million) range — the 1962 "Femme au chien," which features Picasso's second wife (never as famous as his mistresses and muses) Jacqueline Roque, and a 1949 "Femme assise," which depicts another partner of his, Françoise Gilot.

ARTINFO is more inclined toward the many Surrealist works by René Magritte and Paul Delvaux that appear in the catalogue, especially the burnt-pink sunset image by Magritte, "Le monde des images" (1950), which is estimated to sell for £2-3 million ($3.1-4.7 million), and the haunting Greek imagery of Delvaux's 1949 "Le temple" (est. £1.5-2.5 million, $2.3-3.9 million), which given current events in that country seems particularly prescient.


Sale: Summer Auctions 
Location: Koller Zurich
Date: June 18-23

Sale: Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper and Day Sale
Location: Christie's London
Date: June 21, 10:30am and 2pm, respectively

Sale: Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale
Location: Sotheby's London
Date: June 20, 10:30am

Sale: George Washington's Annotated Copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, 1789
Location: Christie's New York
Date: June 22, 12:30pm

To see works from next week's Imp-Mod sales in London, click the slide show.