Van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece from Elizabeth Taylor art collection realizes $16 million at Christie’s

Van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece from Elizabeth Taylor art collection realizes $16 million at Christie’s

At Christie’s two-day series of sales devoted to Impressionist and Modern Art on Tuesday and Wednesday, 38 works of art from Miss Taylor’s personal collection were offered for sale, and achieved a combined total of €18,712,116. Every single one of the collection’s 1,817 lots of fine art, jewelry, fashion, decorative arts and memorabilia were snapped up by eager bidders from around the world, often for five, ten or even 50 times their pre-sale estimate.

Among the stand-out lots of Wednesday’s sale was Kees Van Dongen’s charming Promenade à cheval – a gift from her father, the art dealer Francis Taylor – which sold for £601,250 ($955,988/€719,095), well above its £120,000 estimate. A group of 13 works by the modern British artist Augustus John also performed well as a whole, realizing a combined total of £192,825 ($306,592/€230,619), against an estimate of £152,000 for the group.

The top lot of the two-day series – and of the complete collection – was Vincent Van Gogh’s

Vue de l’asile et de la Chappelle de Saint-Rémy, which sold for £10,121,250 ($15,991,575 /€12,165,743) on Tuesday evening. Up until her death in March of 2011, the Van Gogh and many other paintings featured in the sales had been displayed on the walls of Miss Taylor’s home in Bel Air, CA.

As one of the most highly-anticipated sales in auction history, The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor generated intense interest from bidders throughout the world, with more than 40 different countries represented throughout the sales series. In December 2011, Christie’s New York sold Miss Taylor’s exquisite collections of jewelry, fashion, decorative arts and memorabilia in a four-day marathon auction series that totaled $156.8 million and set a world record for the most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history, and set a new bar for the most valuable collection of fashion ever offered at auction.

It also marked the company’s first-ever Online-Only sale, which ran in parallel to the live auctions at Christie’s New York and generated over 57,000 bids and $9.5 million in additional sales. In total, 30 items from the collection sold for over the $1 million mark, 7 items sold above the $5 million mark, and numerous new world auction records were achieved – a testament to Miss Taylor’s expert eye for craftsmanship, rarity, and quality in all of the items she chose for her personal collection.

Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas
commented, “It has been an incredible honor for Christie’s to present this storied collection to the global collecting community. From our initial announcement of the collection sales last summer in New York, to the worldwide tour of the collection highlights last fall, to the last rap of the auctioneer’s gavel today in London, the global outpouring of affection and admiration for Elizabeth Taylor from fans and collectors alike has been amazing for us to witness. We are grateful to the trustees of her estate for entrusting Christie’s with this one-of-a-kind collection, which will go down in history as one of the most successful private collection sales ever presented at auction.”

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