Thursday 25 June 2015

Edgar Degas dancer sculpture fetches £15.8m

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, one of Edgar Degas' most famous works, has sold at a London auction for £15.8m.
Created in 1922, the bronze casting of Degas' original wax figure fetched a record sum for one of his sculptures.
Degas' Petite danseuse de quatorze ans
The Sotheby's auction also saw the first work to be sold from Cornelius Gurlitt's trove of Nazi-looted art.
Max Liebermann's Two Riders on a Beach, which was among more than 1,200 works found in Gurlitt's Munich apartment three years ago, went for £1.87m.
The 1901 oil painting made more than three times the pre-sale upper estimate of £550,000.
"My family and I are very pleased with Sotheby's sale of my great-uncle's painting," said David Toren, the only living heir to have seen Liebermann's artwork hanging in situ before it was seized by the Nazis.
"Recounting the circumstances of this painting's journey and revisiting of my family's history has been very poignant."
Two Riders on a Beach (1901) by Max Liebermann
The auction also included a Gustav Klimt portrait lost to Jewish owners during the Nazi regime, which came to sale after the resolution of a dispute between descendants of the artist and the subject.
Portrait of Gertrud Loew sold for £24.8m, exceeding the pre-sale estimate of £18m and fetching the second-highest price for a portrait by the artist at auction.
Helena Newman, Sotheby's co-head of impressionist and modern art, described it as "one of his finest portraits to appear at auction in over 20 years".
The Degas sculpture took the French Impressionist three years to finish and was the only sculpture he ever exhibited in his lifetime.
The 28 bronze repetitions that appear in museums and galleries around the world today were cast after his death in 1917.
One of them was previously offered for auction at Christie's in New York in 2011 but failed to sell after the bids stopped at $18.5m (£11.8m).
Other highlights Wednesday's the sale included the first version of Edouard Manet's famous Le Bar aux Folies-Bergere (1881), which fetched £16.9m.
The same work sold for £4.4m when it last appeared at Sotheby's in London in June 1994.