Auction  May 17, 2018  Chandra Noyes

Christie’s Sets New Records for Malevich, Brancusi at Auction

Courtesy Christie's

Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935), "Suprematist Composition," 1916. Oil on canvas, 34-7/8 x 28 in. (88.7 x 71.1 cm.) Estimate in the region of $70 million. Price Realized $85,812,500.

Christie's continued a streak of record-breaking auctions at their Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on Tuesday. Kazimir Malevich’s "Suprematist Composition" led the sale, achieving nearly $86 million. The 1916 painting is one of his most iconic and is representative of the height of Malevich's Suprematist movement. A pioneer of geometric abstraction, Malevich sought to express emotion purely through shape and color, developing an evolving vocabulary through his compositions. Some of this greatest works, including "White on White" of 1918, "Black Square" of 1915, and "Suprematist Composition" marked significant progress towards this goal and in art history in general.

Courtesy Christie's

Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957),"La jeune fille sophistiquée (Portrait de Nancy Cunard)," 1932. Polished bronze with artist's carved marble base. Height (overall): 31 ½ in. (80 cm.) Height (without base) 21 ¾ in. (55.1 cm.). Estimate in the region of $70 million. Price realized $71,000,000.

The second highest selling item at this auction set a new record for Constantin Brancusi. The gleaming bronze "La jeune fille sophistiquée (Portrait de Nancy Cunard)," conceived in 1928 and cast in 1932, sold for $71 million. The abstracted portrait and marble base typify the simple elegance of Brancusi's sculpture.

The evening also saw high sales for Van Gogh, Miro, and Leger, with overall sales totaling over $415 million. View the full auction results here.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.

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