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November 9, 2006
$496 Million Auction Shatters Record

By CAROL VOGEL
In a landmark sale, the biggest in auction history, nearly half a billion dollarsÕ worth of art changed hands last night at ChristieÕs sale of Impressionist and modern art. Soaring prices for blockbuster paintings by Klimt and Gauguin left thousands of spectators, who came to watch and to buy, gasping.

ŅIt was certainly the most amazing sale IÕve ever taken,Ó said a dazed Christopher Burge, honorary chairman of ChristieÕs and the eveningÕs auctioneer, after the two-and-a-half hour sale.

The eveningÕs total, $491.4 million, was well over $200 million more than that for any previous auction, topping its high estimate of $427.8 million. (The previous record was $269 million at ChristieÕs in May 1990.) Of the 84 lots up for sale last night, only 6 failed to sell.

The sale included an estimated $125 million worth of artworks that had recently been returned to the heirs of owners from whom they were looted by the Nazis during World War II. Before restitution, five had been hanging in museums.

Heading that group were four paintings by Klimt that were recently on view at the Neue Galerie in Manhattan along with his ŅAdele Bloch-Bauer I,Ó which Ronald S. Lauder, the cosmetics heir, privately bought for the gallery in June for $135 million.

That price was only one of the factors that contributed to a night of bidding frenzy, along with the great wealth being accumulated in world financial markets and the high quality of the works on offer.

The Klimts, the stars of the evening, were originally in the collection of the turn-of-the century sugar industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer and his wife, Adele, a prominent hostess. In January, an arbitration court ruled that the paintings had been improperly seized when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. They were then handed over to a niece of Mrs. Bloch-Bauer, Maria Altmann of Los Angeles, who watched last nightÕs sale from a skybox at ChristieÕs. Often, what she saw was pure auction theater.

When ŅPortrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II,Ó a 1912 portrait of Mrs. Bloch-Bauer in fashionable street clothes and a wide-brimmed hat, came up for sale, four telephone bidders tenaciously went for the painting, which was expected to sell for $40 million to $60 million. Mr. Burge carefully proceeded in $500,000 increments. When the price rose to $74 million and the competition was down to two bidders, Guy Bennett, head of ChristieÕs Impressionist and modern art department in New York, dramatically raised his hand and began bidding aggressively for an anonymous client on the telephone. Mr. BennettÕs buyer won, paying $87.9 million, a record for the artist. The salesroom burst into applause.

Before the auction, Mr. Lauder had said he would love to buy that portrait for the Neue Galerie if the price was right. All ChristieÕs would say was that the buyer was a private collector.

The three other Klimts, all landscapes, also brought strong prices. Five bidders went for ŅBirch ForestÓ (1903), one of the artistÕs few woodland scenes, depicting an autumn scene of fallen leaves. Another telephone bidder finally paid $40.3 million, well above its high estimate of $30 million estimate. ŅHouses at Unterach on the AtterseeÓ (1916), a view of a resort town in the Austrian countryside that was estimated at $18 million to $25 million, sold for $31 million to an unidentified couple sitting in the front of the salesroom. Another telephone duel was waged for ŅApple Tree IÓ (1912), a richly colored canvas that sold for $33 million, far above its estimate of $15 million to $25 million.

(Final prices include ChristieÕs commission: 20 percent of the first $100,000 and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect the commissions.)

The Klimts werenÕt the only blockbusters last night. Early in the evening, GauguinÕs ŅMan with an AxÓ (1891), estimated at $35 million to $45 million, was sold to another anonymous telephone bidder for $40.3 million, a record for the artist. The richly colored canvas of a Tahitian poised in front of his boat has been in the Sultan of BruneiÕs family.

Although ChristieÕs executives said Mr. Lauder did not buy any of the Klimts, the Neue Galerie, with the help of an anonymous ŅfriendÓ of the museum, was able to purchase Ernst Ludwig KirchnerÕs ŅStreet Scene, Berlin.Ó This colorful canvas of an urban crowd, painted mainly in blues with a prostitute in a bright red dress on the left, was expected to bring $18 million to $25 million. Daniella Luxembourg, a private dealer, bid on behalf of the Neue Galerie, paying $38 million, another record.

The painting is another story of restitution. It found its way to ChristieÕs only three months after the German government returned it to the heirs of Alfred and Thekla Hess, Jewish collectors in Erfurt, Germany. The painting, which had been hanging in BrŸcke Museum in Berlin, is one of only 11 street scenes painted by Kirchner and is considered one of his finest, having been painted at the height of his career.

The sale lost one of its potential stars earlier yesterday when ChristieÕs announced that it was reluctantly withdrawing an important Picasso portrait, ŅPortrait of Angel Fern‡ndez de Soto.Ó The decision, made by the auction house and the seller, the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, came just a day after a federal judge dismissed a claim filed by Julius H. Schoeps, a Jewish bankerÕs heir, who contends that the soulful Blue Period painting was sold under duress by his great-uncle, a banker in Nazi Germany. The 1903 painting, estimated at $40 million to $60 million, was to be sold on behalf of Mr. Lloyd WebberÕs foundation, which benefits theaters and actors. ChristieÕs said the sale was delayed because Mr. SchoepsÕs lawyers had informed them that they would file another suit in a state court.

The loss of the Picasso did not hurt the evening. As crowds milled around ChristieÕs after the sale, trying to make sense of it all, Andrew Fabricant, a Manhattan dealer, perhaps best echoed the feeling of the audience. ŅIÕm flabbergasted,Ó he said. ŅNot only did so much money change hands, but this sale it going to change the whole landscape when it comes to prices for postwar art.Ó
 

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Christie's stages record art sale
Thu Nov 9, 2006 5:48 AM GMT
 

By Christopher Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Christie's fall sale of Impressionist and modern art lived up to its billing as the biggest auction in history, led by a group of four Nazi-looted Klimts restored to their rightful heirs that raked in nearly $200 million (105 million pounds).

The Klimts included a portrait that fetched the third-highest auction price ever, while new records were also set for Gauguin, Schiele and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner at the $491,472,000 sale.

In the end, however, the night belonged to Klimt, and to Maria Altmann, a Los Angeles nonagenarian and the niece of the Austrian couple Adele and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer who lost the works to the Nazis.

The four paintings, led by the portrait "Adele Bloch-Bauer II," fetched a total of $192.7 million including Christie's commission -- double the expectations for the works by the Austrian artist which had never been offered on the open market.

"Adele Bloch-Bauer II" alone went for just under $88 million, becoming the third-highest priced piece of art at auction. Last summer Manhattan's Neue Galerie obtained "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" for a reported $135 million, at the time the top known price in history for a work of art.

"The results were completely phenomenal, and beyond our wildest expectations," said Christopher Burge, Christie's honorary chairman and the sale's auctioneer. "Everything, at every level. It was just extraordinary across the board. I've never seen a sale like this," he said, quipping that the frenzied bidding had him feeling like "a performing seal for 2-1/2 hours."

The total was some $200 million higher than any previous single event, Christie's said. Only six of 84 lots on offer went unsold.

It almost didn't matter that one of the star lots, Picasso's $50 million Blue Period portrait of Angel Fernandez do Soto, was yanked by Andrew Lloyd Webber after an 11th-hour claim and litigation over its rightful title.

The British composer decided not to sell the work, the proceeds of which had been earmarked for charity, without a clear title, Christie's said earlier on Wednesday. But auction officials said they were confident they could resolve the matter in "short order" and would be able to sell it on behalf of Lloyd Webber's foundation as planned.

LANDMARK RESTITUTION

Maria Altmann, who will share the proceeds with her children and grandchildren, told reporters beforehand that she hoped at least some of the works would end up on museum walls or other public display.

"My family and I are delighted to see these treasured paintings find new homes," she said in a statement after the sale in which she called the restitution "a landmark case." And noting that her aunt and uncle had taken great joy in owning the paintings some 70 years ago, Altmann added, "We trust the new owners will build on this tradition of appreciation."

With all the hoopla over the Klimts, Gauguin's early Tahiti painting "Man With an Ax" was somewhat overshadowed, despite setting a record for the artist when it sold for $40,336,000, right in the middle of its pre-sale estimate. That was the same price paid for Klimt's "Birch Forest," a 1903 work that carried a much lower estimate of $20 million to $30 million.

Another Nazi-looted work restituted to the rightful heirs and sold on Wednesday was Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's "Berlin Street Scene," which soared to $38.1 million or more than twice the low estimate, making it the sale's fourth-highest priced work. Bought anonymously for the collection of the Neue Galerie, it also smashed the artist's previous record of $8.78 million.

The two other Klimts -- "Apple Tree I" and "Houses in Unterach on the Attersee" -- fetched $33 million and $31.4 million respectively, while Schiele's "Single Houses" sold for $22.4 million, just beating the artist's old mark. Records were also set for Bonnard and Balthus.

Christie's President Marc Porter said the amazing prices attained by the Klimts gave testimony to the importance of the restitution issue, in that works such as those pursued so energetically on Wednesday were in pristine condition and totally new to the open market, having been hanging on museum walls since the 1940s.

The auction's result, he told Reuters, was evidence that "putting reasonable estimates on works that are fresh to the market is just paying off in unimaginable ways."
 

Collecting
Christie's Rides Art Boom
Heidi Brown, 11.09.06, 10:40 AM ET
 

Wednesday night's art auction set records and left an impression.

Last night's highly publicized and eagerly awaited auction of Impressionist and modern art at Christie's auction house generated $491 million, making it the largest sale in history.

That tops the firm's own high estimate of $490 million, as well as the previous total auction record, by a startling $200 million, company executives said Wednesday night. And although the record for a single work sold at auction-- Pablo Picasso's "Boy with a Pipe" for $104 million--wasn't broken, new auction highs were set for Paul Gaugin, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.

Sotheby's (nyse: BID - news - people ) Nov. 7 auction of art from the same period, with far fewer "major" works on offer, saw sales that were pale in comparison, with the firm reporting $239 million total.

The Christie's event--and, to a lesser extent, Sotheby's--occurred amid extreme excitement among collectors. (See " Painting By The Numbers.") Thanks to record levels of wealth worldwide and increasing participation by buyers outside of the U.S., the art world has been enjoying a boom that has seemed to only gain momentum in the last three years. Many works that art experts considered ordinary received well above their high estimate at both auctions and generated suspenseful bidding, often anonymously by phone.

Most of the ten highest-priced works were bought by anonymous purchasers, with the exception of an arresting Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painting, "Berliner Strassenszene," restituted by a Berlin museum to the Hess family this summer; it was bought by Ronald Lauder's Neue Galerie for $38.1 million (all prices include commission).

The four Klimts for sale--the rest of a group of restitution paintings recently recovered by the heirs of Adele Bloch-Bauer after being disposed of by the Nazis--brought $192 million. "Adele Bloch-Bauer II" sold for $87.9 million--an auction record for Klimt and topping the high estimate of $60 million. (Lauder bought the exquisite "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" privately for the Neue Galerie in June, paying a reported $135 million.)

Gaugin's "L'homme a la Hache," thought to be one of the few paintings of his early Tahitian period left in private hands, brought $40.3 million against a high estimate of $45 million, but a record nonetheless. And Schiele's darker, more challenging "Einzelne Hauser" set an auction record for the artist of $22.4 million.

Amid the frenzy, there was some disappointment. One of the star works of the night was scheduled to be an important Picasso painting, "Angel Fernandez de Soto," from his famed Blue Period, with an estimated value of $40 million to $60 million. A moody, pensive portrait of Picasso's bohemian, cafe-loving friend, it had traveled all the way to Moscow to drum up interest among Russian collectors, who have been more active in art-buying in the last few years. But a family claiming that its ancestors had sold the painting under duress during the Nazi period filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court claiming the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, which was selling it, had no ownership rights. The foundation fought the suit, and it was overturned. But the family filed again in New York State Court, and just a day before the auction, the foundation withdrew the painting from the sale.

"Andrew Lloyd Webber decided he didn't want to sell the painting without the title being clear," said Edward Dolan, Christie's chief executive, at a press conference following the auction. He added that Christie's might seek damages from the family claiming ownership rights to the painting, and that the painting would definitely be sold, either privately or at auction.

Despite the absence of the Picasso, there was still plenty of drama in the auction room, which, because of massive turnout, overflowed the main chamber on the second floor of the Christie's Rockefeller Center building into two other galleries, with some reporters forced to watch the proceedings on small screens. Standing-room-only spectators in the main room were five to six people deep, and at times, the bidding was so fast and heavy that the lead auctioneer came close to overlooking eager bidders in the wings, who found themselves waving their paddles furiously to get his attention. Early in the evening, the tension in the room temporarily broke, when a middle-aged man seated in the center nearly won a $2.7 million Kandinsky painting when he stood and waved to an acquaintance with his paddle, prompting sympathetic laughter from the crowd.
 

Record Sales at Christie's

Auctions

By KATE TAYLOR
November 9, 2006

It could not defy expectations, because expectations were so high, but Christie's Impressionist and Modern art sale last night did break records, bringing in just over $491 million.

"It was the most incredible sale I have ever seen," the charming (and exhausted) auctioneer, Christopher Burge, said afterward. "And I have been in the auction business for 30 years."

Because of several factors, including much-publicized battles over restitution and the influence in New York of Ronald Lauder and his Neue Galerie, German and Austrian art were particularly hot last night. Many of the people packing the room were mostly there to see who would buy Ń and for how much Ń the four Klimts recently restituted to Maria Altmann and the other heirs of Ferdinand and AdŽle Bloch-Bauer. When the first Klimt came up, the room went silent, and when the hammer finally came down on the fourth Ń "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II," which sold for no less than a hammer price of $78.5 million Ń people applauded, then rose en masse to go off to dinner, although there were still 30 lots to go.

The auction's dramatic success came in spite of a last-minute "tragedy," as Mr. Burge referred to the decision yesterday to withdraw a famous Blue Period Picasso, "Portrait de Angel Fern‡ndez de Soto," which had an estimate of $40 million to $60 million. Julius Schoeps made an 11th-hour restitution claim, and, though a judge on Tuesday allowed the sale to go on, Christie's and the seller, the Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation, decided to withdraw the painting. Christie's is planning to sue for damages.

The Klimts appeared to have been all purchased by anonymous individuals. The Neue Galerie, however, purchased one of the night's other stars, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's spectacular ŌBerliner Strassenszene" for a hammer price of $34 million, well over the estimate and an auction record for the artist.

All of the Klimts brought high prices, but the bidding for "Adele Bloch-Bauer II" was particularly fierce, going back and forth between two telephone bidders.

Other works that brought prices well above their estimates were Giacometti's "La jambe" Ń a single, attenuated leg Ń which sold for a hammer price of $7.1 million; Modigliani's "VŽnus" at $14.2 million; Picasso's "Chouette," a painted metal sculpture of an owl, which sold for $2.35 million, and a study for Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie II," which attracted animated bidding and sold for $2.9 million.

One of the most famous paintings up for sale, Gauguin's "Lhomme ˆ la hache," was sold for a hammer price of $36 million Ń hardly shoddy, but just above the low estimate.

At a press conference prior to the auction, Ms. Altmann was asked why, having in the past stated that she wanted the Klimts to go somewhere they could be accessible to the public, she was putting them up for auction. "It is a difficult question," Ms. Altmann said. "I'm not the only one. I'm one of several heirs and we decided to go ahead this way."
 

Dem Congress Is New York's Gain Ń and Mississippi's Loss?

Cultural CapitalŹ
11/ 9/06
12:18 PM
Steinhardt, Lauder Ń But Not Picasso Ń Help Set Art Record

Paul Gauguin and Christopher Burge at Christie's last night.
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Some masterpieces were missing from the record-setting Christie's Impressionist auction last night, but a slew of boldfaced names showed up to bid, undaunted.

The night ended with $491 million in sales, making it the biggest art auction ever, and paddles were waving right out of the gate. Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Lauria outbid several opponents for lot No. 5, a Piet Mondrian study for "Broadway Boogie Woogie" that went for $3.3 million. Michael Steinhardt, seated with his wife, Judy, outbid powerhouse art dealer Jeffrey Deitch for another Mondrian study just a minute later, paying $2.1 million. And that was just the beginning.
 

"Painting No. 47 has tragically been withdrawn," Christie's plumy-voiced auctioneer Christopher Burge told the wall-to-wall audience; Andrew Lloyd Webber's controversial Picasso had been pulled only hours before the auction started. And the other stars of the evening, four multi-million-dollar Gustav Klimts, were also missing: The sellers had insisted that they be kept in glass cases during the sale and not put on general display.

Ronald Lauder, a prominent Gustav Klimt collector Ń he reportedly paid $135 million for one earlier this year Ń wasn't spotted, but his chauffeur was outside, so he might have been in the private gallery. He didn't win the Klimt portrait of the artist's muse, Adele Bloch-Bauer, but if he surrendered one comely brunette, he may have won another: Bidding on behalf of the Lauder's Neue Galerie was his companion since splitting with wife, private Swiss art dealer Daniella Luxembourg. She bought a rare and controversial Berlin street scene by Kirchner for the museum, spending $38.1 million. (The painting was returned to heirs of its original owners by a German museum, amid bitter local opposition about surrendering the national masterpiece.)

The big money was restless through the long sale, and several people got up to stretch their legs Ń or parade in front of the room: Former Goldman Sachs partner turned deep-pockets art dealer Robert Mnuchin; Israel Nahmad, one of a trio of Middle Eastern art-dealer brothers who are among the biggest art buyers in the world, for clients like the Sultan of Brunei; and Michelle Strauss, sometime advisor to LVMH owner Bernard Arnault. Arnault's rival in the French-billionaire business, Christie's owner Francois Pinault, was also represented: Dealer Marc Blondeau, who often buys for him, snapped up a Giacometti.

The night's loser? Sotheby's, which saw its 1990 record sale Ń $286 million Ń toppled. David Norman, co-head of Sotheby's Impressionist department, was standing near the back, but he left early, before the totals were tallied.

Ń Alexandra Peers

Arts News
Christie's stages record art sale
By Christopher Michaud    Nov 9, 2006, 13:40 GMT

NEW YORK - Christie's fall sale of Impressionist and modern art lived up to its billing as the biggest auction in history, led by a group of four Nazi-looted Klimts restored to their rightful heirs that raked in nearly $200 million.

The Klimts included a portrait that fetched the third-highest auction price ever, while new records were also set for Gauguin, Schiele and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner at the $491,472,000 sale.

In the end, however, the night belonged to Klimt, and to Maria Altmann, a Los Angeles nonagenarian and the niece of the Austrian couple Adele and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer who lost the works to the Nazis.

The four paintings, led by the portrait 'Adele Bloch-Bauer II,' fetched a total of $192.7 million including Christie's commission -- double the expectations for the works by the Austrian artist which had never been offered on the open market.

'Adele Bloch-Bauer II' alone went for just under $88 million, becoming the third-highest priced piece of art at auction. Last summer Manhattan's Neue Galerie obtained 'Adele Bloch-Bauer I' for a reported $135 million, at the time the top known price in history for a work of art.

'The results were completely phenomenal, and beyond our wildest expectations,' said Christopher Burge, Christie's honorary chairman and the sale's auctioneer. 'Everything, at every level. It was just extraordinary across the board. I've never seen a sale like this,' he said, quipping that the frenzied bidding had him feeling like 'a performing seal for 2-1/2 hours.'

The total was some $200 million higher than any previous single event, Christie's said. Only six of 84 lots on offer went unsold.

It almost didn't matter that one of the star lots, Picasso's $50 million Blue Period portrait of Angel Fernandez do Soto, was yanked by Andrew Lloyd Webber after an 11th-hour claim and litigation over its rightful title.

The British composer decided not to sell the work, the proceeds of which had been earmarked for charity, without a clear title, Christie's said earlier on Wednesday. But auction officials said they were confident they could resolve the matter in 'short order' and would be able to sell it on behalf of Lloyd Webber's foundation as planned.

LANDMARK RESTITUTION

Maria Altmann, who will share the proceeds with her children and grandchildren, told reporters beforehand that she hoped at least some of the works would end up on museum walls or other public display.

'My family and I are delighted to see these treasured paintings find new homes,' she said in a statement after the sale in which she called the restitution 'a landmark case.' And noting that her aunt and uncle had taken great joy in owning the paintings some 70 years ago, Altmann added, 'We trust the new owners will build on this tradition of appreciation.'

With all the hoopla over the Klimts, Gauguin's early Tahiti painting 'Man With an Ax' was somewhat overshadowed, despite setting a record for the artist when it sold for $40,336,000, right in the middle of its pre-sale estimate. That was the same price paid for Klimt's 'Birch Forest,' a 1903 work that carried a much lower estimate of $20 million to $30 million.

Another Nazi-looted work restituted to the rightful heirs and sold on Wednesday was Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's 'Berlin Street Scene,' which soared to $38.1 million or more than twice the low estimate, making it the sale's fourth-highest priced work. Bought anonymously for the collection of the Neue Galerie, it also smashed the artist's previous record of $8.78 million.

The two other Klimts -- 'Apple Tree I' and 'Houses in Unterach on the Attersee' -- fetched $33 million and $31.4 million respectively, while Schiele's 'Single Houses' sold for $22.4 million, just beating the artist's old mark. Records were also set for Bonnard and Balthus.

Christie's President Marc Porter said the amazing prices attained by the Klimts gave testimony to the importance of the restitution issue, in that works such as those pursued so energetically on Wednesday were in pristine condition and totally new to the open market, having been hanging on museum walls since the 1940s.

The auction's result, he told Reuters, was evidence that 'putting reasonable estimates on works that are fresh to the market is just paying off in unimaginable ways.'

Christie's Sets Record For Most Valuable Sale in History

Paul Gauguin, LÕh™mme ˆ la h‰che, 1891. Sold for US$40,336,000 in the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale at Christie's New York on 8 November 2006. WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST.

NEW YORK.- ChristieÕs sale of Impressionist and Modern Art realized $491,472,000, setting a new record for any auction. The prospect of acquiring masterpieces the likes of which had not been seen on the market forever generated boundless enthusiasm and bidding throughout the sale. Nine new world auction records were set including for Klimt, Schiele, Kirchner, Gauguin and Balthus. Buyers in tonightÕs sale, by lot (not value) were 39.5% American, 42.5% European, 4% Asian, 1.5% Russian, 3% Latin American and 9.5% other.

ŅHistory was made tonight,Ó said Christopher Burge, Honorary Chairman of ChristieÕs and the eveningÕs auctioneer. ŅBuyers from around the world gathered for an unprecedented sale of Impressionist and Modern Art which almost doubled the previous record for any auction at nearly half a billion dollars.Ó

The sale of the four Klimt paintings, recently restituted to the heirs of Adele and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, was one of the most fervently awaited events in art market history. After exhibitions in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Neue Galerie in New York, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, Birch Forest, Apple Tree I and Houses at Unterach, were exhibited at the ChristieÕs Rockefeller Galleries where more than 7,500 people visited them during the six-day viewing. In tonightÕs sale, the results achieved for all four paintings reconfirmed KlimtÕs genius. Portrait of Adele II realized $87,936,000; Birch Forest $40,336,000; Apple Tree I $33,056,000 and Unterach Houses $31,376,000. The result for Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II smashed the previous auction record and made this work the third highest selling painting at auction.

Maria Altmann, niece of the Adele and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer said after the sale: ŅMy family and I are delighted to see these treasured paintings find new homes. Tonight was a very exciting evening and we are delighted and honored that so many people wanted to partake in history. We are pleased that Christie's has so successfully helped us bring the story full circle. The restitution of these paintings was a landmark case and we are forever grateful for the support of so many talented, compassionate and committed individuals who helped us. My Aunt Adele and Uncle Ferdinand enjoyed living with these paintings and sharing them and we trust that their new owners will build on this tradition of appreciation.Ó

The appearance on the market of GauguinÕs LÕh™mme ˆ la h‰che, one of the first paintings the artist executed upon arrival in Tahiti, excited the collecting community in no small way. The painting had only appeared at auction once, in 1893, and was subsequently acquired by the renowned dealer Ambroise Vollard whose life and career are currently fted in a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. LÕh™mme ˆ la h‰che was bought for $40,336,000, a new world auction record for the artist.

KirchnerÕs Berliner Strassenszene, restituted to the heirs of Alfred and Thekla Hess, is one of a series of 11 paintings the artist created of notoriously decadent Berlin right after the First World War. The present painting is arguably the best in the series and offered and unique opportunity for collectors to acquire a quintessential Kirchner painting. Berliner Strassenszene fetched $38,096,000 and broke the previous record for the artist set at ChristieÕs London in February of this year. The painting was bought by the Neue Galerie in New York.

Three superb works by Egon Schiele were consigned by the Neue Galerie and achieved results that emphasized the strong demand for German Expressionism in general as well as the immense appeal of Egon SchieleÕs oeuvre. Two watercolors, Zwei MŠdchen auf einer Fransendecke and Kniender Halbakt nach links gebeugt realized $5,616,000 and $11,216,000, respectively. The magisterial painting Einzelne HŠuser (HŠuser mit Bergen) realized $22,416,000 and set a new world auction record for the artist.

Other highlights in tonightÕs sale include ModiglianiÕs VŽnus ($15,920,000); Fernand LŽgerÕs fabulous Trois Personages ($8,976,000); MatisseÕs Nature Morte from the Lewisohn Collection ($3,600,000); HodlerÕs Thunersee mit Niesen ($3,936,000); and the glorious two Mondrian studies for Broadway Boogie Woogie ($3,264,000 and $2,144,000) from the Estate of Arnold Newman which broke the world auction record for a work on paper by the artist. Works formerly in the Collection of Janice Levin, sold to benefit the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation realized $20,470,400.

The Independent
9 November 2006 23:09

Klimt sales take Christie's auction to $491.4m record
By David Usborne in New York
Published:Ź10 November 2006

A full house was not the only indicator of a good night at Christie's in Manhattan on Wednesday. More importantly, when the night's parade of Impressionist and modern art was done, there was the discovery that it had been the richest single auction in history.
"I've never seen anything like it," Christopher Burge, the honorary chairman of Christie's who wielded the gavel in the main sales room, said. "It was the most extraordinary auction I've been involved in."
By the time all the bidding was done - much of it by way of anonymous buyers over the phone - Christie's reported a final tally of $491.4m (£257.7m), far surpassing the previous record for a single sale set by the same auction house in 1990.
The sale included several works by Gustav Klimt, which were only recently returned to their rightful owner in a protracted Nazi restitution case, and it provided fresh proof that art is a hotter commodity than ever before.
Not even the withdrawal of a Picasso owned by the charitable foundation of Lord Lloyd-Webber, Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto, could dent the mood of the night. The picture has become ensnarled in yet other dispute about ownership and Nazi expropriation.
The loudest gasps came as Mr Burge offered Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II which had been expected to sell for between $40m and $60m. A last-minute entrant among telephone bidders eventually secured the work $87.9m, a record for the Austrian artist. A record price of $40.3m was also paid for Gauguin's Man With an Ax.
But the night surely belonged to Klimt with four pictures on offer, all delivered earlier this year to Maria Altmann, a Los Angeles-based niece of the late Adele and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, whose collection of artworks was seized after the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. Ms Altmann watched the sale in a seat of honour in the Christie's Sky Box. Together, the four raised $192m.
The Christie's sale came just days after the Los Angeles entertainment mogul David Geffen sold a Jackson Pollock painting to a private collector for $140m, the highest price ever paid for a single work of art.
 
 

Klimt-Auktion:
"Adele Superstar" in New York

(diepresse.com) 09.11.2006

Die vier Klimt-GemŠlde von Maria Altmann wurden um 192,7 Millionen Dollar verkauft.

"Es war die au§ergewšhnlichste Auktion, die ich je in meiner langen Karriere miterlebt habe", resŸmierte Christie's-Auktionator Christopher Burge. Nachdem Gustav Klimts "Goldene Adele" bereits im Juni vom Unternehmer Ronald S. Lauder zum Rekordpreis von 135 Millionen Dollar erworben worden war, kamen Mittwoch Abend (Ortszeit) nun "Adele Bloch-Bauer II" und drei weitere restituierte Klimt-GemŠlde von Maria Altmann in New York unter den Hammer. Die vier Bilder wechselten um insgesamt 192,7 Millionen Dollar ihren Besitzer. Der Erlšs lag damit um 100 Millionen Dollar Ÿber dem von Christie's erwarteten Wert.
 

Maria Altmann, die "KŠmpferin" des Abends wie sie sich selbst bezeichnet hat, wirkte  kurz vor der Auktion gelassen und fršhlich. Das Kapitel um die Klimt-GemŠlde ihrer Familie kann nun endlich geschlossen werden. Viele Jahre hat sich die 90-JŠhrige mit Gesetzen und der šsterreichischen Regierung herumgestritten, bis ihr die fŸnf Klimt-GemŠlde aus dem Nachlass ihrer Tante Adele Bloch-Bauer vermacht wurden.

Auktion der Superlative

Die Auktion der Superlative, wie Christie's seine millionenschwere Verkaufsparty im Vorfeld gerne bezeichnet hat begann mit etwas VerspŠtung. Der gro§e Saal im Christie's-GebŠude in der NŠhe des Rockefeller Centers war bis zum letzten Platz gefŸllt. Insgesamt nahmen 750 potenzielle KŠufer und etwa 200 Journalisten in dem eigentlich unscheinbaren, in Braun- und Blautšnen gehaltenen Raum Platz.

"Es war ein unheimlich spannender Abend. Adele war der Star des Abends", meinte der Wiener Galerist John Sailer unmittelbar nach der Auktion. Als schlie§lich ein anonymer Bieter bei 87,9 Mio. Dollar - inklusive PrŠmie - den Zuschlag bekam, war das Publikum nicht mehr zu halten. "Es gab riesigen Applaus unmittelbar nach dem Zuschlag, da wurde die Spannung abgebaut. Ein Drittel der Besucher ist danach gegangen." In der Liste der teuersten GemŠlde rangiert "Adele Bloch-Bauer II" nun auf Platz fŸnf.

Maria Altmann fŸhlt sich geehrt

Bloch-Bauer-Erbin Maria Altmann zeigte sich in einem kurzen Statement nach der Auktion hoch erfreut, "dass die wertvollen GemŠlde ein neues Zuhause gefunden haben". Es sei ein aufregender Abend gewesen und sie fŸhle sich sehr geehrt, dass so viele Menschen daran teilgenommen hŠtten.  Die Erlšse der anderen drei Klimt-Bilder: 40,3 Mio. Dollar fŸr den "Buchenwald", 33 Mio. Dollar fŸr das Bild "Apfelbaum I" und 31,4 Mio. Dollar fŸr die "HŠuser in Unterach am Attersee".

Neun Weltrekorde

Bei der Auktion "Impressionismus und Moderne" gab es insgesamt neun Weltrekorde und einen Rekord-Erlšs von 491,47 Mio. Dollar. Mit 40,3 Mio. Dollar ist "L'homme ˆ la hache" nun das teuerste GemŠlde von Paul Gauguin. Ronald Lauder kaufte das GemŠlde "Berliner Stra§enszene" von Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Ein neuer Rekordpreis fŸr ein Bild des Deutschen. "Heute wurde Geschichte geschrieben", meinte Auktionator Burge. (Ag.)
 
 

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Klimt schreibt Auktionsgeschichte
87,9 Millionen Dollar fŸr "Adele II": das nun fŸnftteuerste Bild der Welt, ging an Telefonbieter - Insgesamt 172 Milllionen Dollar fŸr die vier Klimt-GemŠlde

New York - Einen Rekord-Erlšs von 491,47 Mio. Dollar (384 Mio. Euro) und insgesamt neun Weltrekorde gab es bei der "Impressionismus und Moderne"-Auktion des New Yorker Auktionshauses Christie's gestern, Mittwoch, Abend. Gleich 192,7 Mio. Dollar (151 Mio. Euro) gingen davon auf das Konto von Gustav Klimt: FŸr 87,936 Mio. Dollar (68,8 Mio. Euro; alle Angaben inklusive ZuschlŠge) ging das PortrŠt "Adele Bloch-Bauer II" an einen Telefonanbieter. Damit platziert sich das GemŠlde als fŸnftteuerstes Bild der Welt und erzielte einen neuen Auktionsrekord fŸr den Maler.

bezahlte Einschaltung
Ronald Lauder, der im Juni die "Goldene Adele" um 135 Mio. Dollar erworben hatte, kaufte das GemŠlde "Berliner Stra§enszene" von Ernst Ludwig Kirchner um 38 Mio. Dollar (29,7 Mio. Euro) fŸr seine "Neue Galerie" in New York - ein neuer Rekordpreis fŸr Kirchner. Mit 40,3 Mio. Dollar erzielte auch Paul Gauguins GemŠlde "L'homme ˆ la hache" einen Rekord fŸr den KŸnstler.
Weit Ÿber SchŠtzpreis

Alle von …sterreich restituierten und nun von den Bloch-Bauer-Erben eingebrachten vier Klimt-GemŠlde fanden weit Ÿber ihren SchŠtzpreisen KŠufer: 40,336 Mio. Dollar (31,6 Mio. Euro) erzielte das Bild "Buchenwald", 33,056 Mio. Dollar (25,9 Mio. Euro) das Bild "Apfelbaum I", um das am Telefon ein Bietergefecht entbrannte. Um 31,376 Mio. Dollar (24,6 Mio. Euro) erwarb eine Dame im Saal die "HŠuser in Unterach am Attersee". Die Klimt-GemŠlde waren die Stars des Abends, der Zuschlag fŸr die "Adele II" erhielt langen Applaus. Danach begann sich der Saal bereits zu leeren.

Bloch-Bauer-Erbin Maria Altmann zeigte sich nach der Auktion hoch erfreut, "dass die wertvollen GemŠlde ein neues Zuhause gefunden haben". Es sei ein aufregender Abend gewesen und sie fŸhle sich sehr geehrt, dass so viele Menschen daran teilgenommen hŠtten. Sie vertraue darauf, dass die neuen EigentŸmer die Tradition ihrer Tante Adele und ihres Onkels Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer weiterfŸhren wŸrden, mit den Bildern zu leben und die Freude daran auch mit anderen zu teilen. Meldungen Ÿber einen mšglichen 25-Prozent-Preisnachlass fŸr šsterreichische KŠufer hatte sie vor der Auktion als "GerŸcht" zurŸckgewiesen.

Schiele-Rekorde

Von den drei Werken Egon Schieles, die bei der Auktion angeboten wurden, erzielte das GemŠlde "HŠuser mit Bergen" mit insgesamt 22,4 Mio. Dollar (17,5 Mio. Euro) den besten Preis und einen neuen Schiele-Auktionsrekord. Schieles "Kniender Halbakt nach links" ging fŸr 11,2 Mio. Dollar (8,77 Mio. Euro) weg (ein neuer Rekord fŸr Schiele-Papierarbeiten), "Zwei MŠdchen auf einer Fransendecke" fŸr 5,6 Mio. Dollar (4,38 Mio. Euro).

Laut Christie's kamen die Bieter des Abends beinahe zu gleichen Teilen aus den USA (39,5 Prozent) und Europa (42,5 Prozent), nur 4 Prozent kamen aus Asien. "Es war die au§ergewšhnlichste Auktion, die ich je in meiner langen Karriere miterlebt habe", resŸmierte Christie's-Auktionator Christopher Burge nach der Versteigerung den spannenden Abend, bei dem der bisherige Auktionsrekord (Sotheby's New York, Mai 1990, 286 Mio. Dollar) um mehr als 200 Mio. Dollar Ÿbertroffen wurde, "Heute wurde Geschichte geschrieben." Nun sei er jedoch froh, dass es vorbei sei. (APA)

Reaktionen šsterreichischer Sammler
Karlheinz Essl: "Nicht das Ende der Fahnenstange" - Rudolf Leopold: Kirchner das "einzige wichtige Bild der Auktion"

bezahlte Einschaltung
Wien - Sehr unterschiedlich reagierten zwei der bekanntesten Kunstsammler …sterreichs auf die Auktions-Rekorde der vergangenen Nacht. "Es ist unglaublich, was Christie's mit seiner Propaganda gelungen ist", meinte Rudolf Leopold. Der GrŸnder und Direktor des Leopold Museums sieht eher eine Blase, die in KŸrze platzen werde, als einen anhaltenden Boom. Im Gegensatz dazu glaubt Karlheinz Essl: "Das ist nicht das Ende der Fahnenstange. Schlie§lich ist ja kaum ein Schiele oder auch Klimt auf dem Markt. Zu diesen Versteigerungen kommt es ja nur mehr durch die Restitutionen."
Als "nicht Ÿberraschend" bezeichnete der Industrielle und GrŸnder des Essl-Museums in Klosterneuburg die Rekord-Ergebnisse. "Adele II" habe er auf rund achtzig Millionen Dollar (62,6 Mio. Euro) geschŠtzt, bei den weiteren GemŠlde habe er nur mit 25 Millionen gerechnet, also "etwas zu gering", wie der Kunstsammler betonte. Diese hohen Preise fŸr Gustav Klimts Arbeiten wŸrden zeigen, dass "Klimt den gleichen Stellenwert hat wie Picasso". Rudolf Leopold dagegen verwies darauf, dass vor rund zwei Jahren in London ein besseres Bild "weniger als ein Zehntel" gekostet habe. Das "einzige wichtige Bild der Auktion" sei nun Kirchners "Berliner Stra§enszene" gewesen, "und das hat die Neue Galerie gekauft".

Als "sensationell" bezeichnete Essl den Rekorderlšs fŸr Egon Schieles Papierarbeit "Kniender Halbakt nach links", der um 11,2 Millionen Dollar ersteigert worden war. FŸr …sterreich wŠre der Preis von insgesamt 192,7 Millionen Dollar, fŸr die die gesamten vier Klimt-GemŠlde versteigert wurden, "kein Thema und auch gar nicht vertretbar" gewesen, egal ob sich nun die Republik oder ein Privatmann darum bemŸht hŠtte. Es sei jedoch "nicht schlecht fŸr die Szene", wenn Klimt im Ausland gut vertreten sei.

Man habe allerdings versŠumt, die Bilder anzukaufen. Im GesprŠch sei die Summe von 30 Millionen Euro fŸr alle vier GemŠlde gewesen, "im Nachhinein ist das erdenklich wenig", so Essl. Auch Rudolf Leopold weist deutlich auf Fehler der Vergangenheit hin: "Ich habe der …sterreichischen Galerie geraten, auf die vier Bilder zu verzichten, um die Goldene Adele behalten zu kšnnen. Ich wei§, dass das mšglich gewesen wŠre! Aber man hat das in den Wind geschlagen." (APA)

Chronologie: Ende eines langen Restitutions-Streits
Vom RŸckgabebeirat Ÿber die Schiedsgericht-Entscheidung bis zum Verkauf der "Goldenen Adele" und der Versteigerung der restlichen vier Bilder

Wien - Die am Mittwoch (New Yorker Ortszeit) erfolgte Versteigerung der Klimt-Bilder "Adele Bloch-Bauer II", "Der Apfelbaum", "Buchenwald" und "HŠuser in Unterach am Attersee" ist der Schlusspunkt eines Rechtsstreits, der sich Ÿber mehr als sechs Jahre gezogen hat. Im JŠnner 2006 entschied ein Schiedsgericht auf RŸckgabe von fŸnf GemŠlden aus der …sterreichischen Galerie an die Erben um Maria Altmann. Nur eines davon, "Adele Bloch-Bauer I", war seither direkt verkauft worden: Der Preis von 135 Mio. Dollar, den Ronald Lauder dafŸr im Juni gezahlt hat, machte die "Goldene Adele" vorŸbergehend zum weltweit teuersten GemŠlde. Im Anschluss eine Chronologie der Ereignisse.
Mehr zum Thema
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Verkauf
So werben Sie auf derStandard.at
bezahlte Einschaltungen
28. Juni 1999: Der KunstrŸckgabebeirat in Wien beschlie§t, fŸnf beanspruchte Klimt-GemŠlde der …sterreichischen Galerie nicht an die Erben nach Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer zurŸckzugeben.
14. September 1999: Die Erben nach Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer bringen am Wiener Landesgericht fŸr Zivilrechtssachen Klage gegen die Republik …sterreich ein.
14. MŠrz 2000: KlŠger-Anwalt E. Randol Schoenberg kŸndigt an, aus KostengrŸnden den Wiener Prozess fallen zu lassen und in den USA zu klagen. Grund: Die Bloch-Bauer-Erben hŠtten allein an Gerichtskostenmarken rund 24 Millionen Schilling (1,74 Mio. Euro) vorab zu entrichten gehabt.
23. August 2000: Im Namen der Erbin Maria Altmann bringt Schoenberg beim US-District Court for the Central District of California eine Klage gegen die Republik …sterreich und die …sterreichische Galerie ein. Neben den ursprŸnglichen fŸnf Bildern bezieht sich diese auch auf das Bild "Amalie Zuckerkandl".
30. April 2001: Beim ersten Gerichtstermin in der Causa Bloch-Bauer in Los Angeles bestreitet die Republik …sterreich die ZustŠndigkeit des US-Gerichts.
7. Mai 2001: Richterin Florence-Marie Cooper lŠsst die Klage zu. In ihrem Spruch befindet sie, dass sowohl die Wegnahme der Bilder im Jahr 1938 durch die Nazis als auch die Weigerung der šsterreichischen Regierung, die GemŠlde nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg an die Erben zurŸckzugeben, vor dem US-Gericht zur Klage berechtige und keine všlkerrechtlichen Bedenken dagegen bestŸnden. Die Republik beruft gegen diese Entscheidung.
13. JŠnner 2003: Die US-Regierung unterstŸtzt die Position …sterreichs und tritt als "amicus curiae" (Rechtsfreund) im Verfahren auf.
7. Juni 2004: Auch das US-Hšchstgericht erkennt die ZustŠndigkeit von US-Gerichten fŸr das Verfahren an.
18. Oktober 2004: Der erste Verhandlungstermin fŸr inhaltliche Fragen wird fŸr den 1. November 2005 festgelegt.
17. Mai 2005: Die beiden Parteien einigen sich darauf, das Gerichtsverfahren in den USA zu beenden und sich stattdessen einem verbindlichen Schiedsverfahren in …sterreich zu unterwerfen.
31. Mai 2005: Zum Vorsitzenden des Schiedsgerichts wird der an der UniversitŠt Linz lehrende Zivilrechtprofessor Peter Rummel bestellt. Ihm zur Seite stehen der von der Republik berufene Dekan der Rechtswissenschaftlichen FakultŠt der UniversitŠt Wien, Walter Rechberger, und der von Altmann nominierte Anwalt Andreas Nšdl.
15. JŠnner 2006: Das Schiedsgericht fŠllt seine Entscheidung: Die Voraussetzungen fŸr die RŸckgabe an die Erben seien erfŸllt.
17. JŠnner 2006: Bildungsministerin Gehrer gibt bekannt, dass die Republik dem Schiedsspruch Folge leisten werde. Heftige Diskussionen um einen RŸckkauf, auf den …sterreich eine Option hat, und Ÿber den Wert der Bilder beginnen.
24. JŠnner 2006: WirtschaftskammerprŠsident Christoph Leitl will das GemŠlde "HŠuser in Unterach am Attersee" nach Linz holen. - Laut OGM-Umfrage sprechen sich zwei Drittel der …sterreicher gegen einen Kauf der Bilder aus.
2. Februar 2006: …sterreich beschlie§t den Verzicht auf einen Ankauf.
14. MŠrz 2006: Die fŸnf Klimt-Bilder werden aus …sterreich abgeholt und nach Los Angeles transportiert. Dort werden die Bilder von 4. April bis 30. Juni im Los Angeles County Museum Of Art (LACMA) gezeigt.
19. Juni 2006: Der Verkauf von "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" an den US-MŠzen und Kosmetikhersteller Ronald Lauder wird bekannt. Der Preis von 135 Mio. Dollar macht die "Goldene Adele" zum weltweit teuersten GemŠlde. Diesen Rang muss sie erst im November an das Bild "No. 5, 1948" von Jackson Pollock abtreten, fŸr das 140 Mio. Dollar gezahlt wurden. Das GemŠlde soll in der "Neuen Galerie" in New York gezeigt werden.
18. September 2006: Das Auktionshaus Christie's gibt bekannt, dass die restlichen vier Klimt-GemŠlde in der Auktion "Impressionismus und Moderne" am 8. November in New York unter den Hammer kommen. Christie's spricht von der "wichtigsten Auktion aller Zeiten" und rechnet mit einer Verkaufssumme von mehr als 93 Millionen Dollar (73,4 Mio. Euro) fŸr alle vier Werke.
7. November 2006: Einen Tag vor der New Yorker Versteigerung sagt Bildungsministerin Elisabeth Gehrer (V), sie habe sich "wahnsinnig bemŸht", private Geldgeber fŸr die Bilder zu finden. "Es ist mir leider nicht gelungen." Ein kolportierter 25-Prozent-Preisnachlass fŸr šsterreichische KŠufer wird bald darauf von Maria Altmann dementiert.
8. November 2006: Die vier GemŠlde werden um insgesamt 192,7 Mio. Dollar (151 Mio. Euro) versteigert. Mit 87,936 Mio. Dollar (68,8 Mio. Euro) - inklusive Auktionszuschlag - wird "Adele Bloch-Bauer II" das fŸnftteuerste Bild der Welt hinter dem Bild "No.5, 1948" von Jackson Pollock, Klimts "Goldener Adele" und zwei GemŠlden von Pablo Picasso. (APA)
 

Kunstmarkt im Rekordfieber
Ein neuer Rekord ist Gustav Klimt schon vor den Auktionen in New York sicher - sicher ist auch, dass …sterreich fŸr einen RŸckkauf kein Rabatt gewŠhrt wird

Klimt-Rabatt fŸr …sterreich? Ein definitives Nein ist die offizielle Antwort von Christie's. "Das fŠllt in die Kategorie Quatsch", kommentiert Angela Baillou, Managing Director der Christie's-Niederlassung in …sterreich, anders lautende Medienberichte. Zwischen den Parteien sei das wohl mal Thema gewesen, aber lange bevor Christie's mit dem Verkauf der Anfang des Jahres von der …sterreichischen Galerie im Belvedere an die Erben nach Bloch-Bauer restituierten GemŠlde von Gustav Klimt betraut wurde. Als Ronald S. Lauder im Juni dieses Jahres Klimts PortrŠt Adele Bloch Bauer I, auch "Goldene Adele" genannt, fŸr die gigantische Summe von 135 Millionen Dollar (107 Millionen Euro) erwarb, leistete das Auktionshaus jedenfalls Finanzierungshilfe.
RekordzuschlŠge

bezahlte Einschaltungen
Ab diesem Zeitpunkt war es keine Frage, ob, sondern nur wann und in welcher Form Christie's auch mit dem Verkauf der anderen Klimt-Werke beauftragt wŸrde. Am Abend des 8. November kommen nun das PortrŠt Adele Bloch-Bauer II, HŠuser in Unterach am Attersee, Apfelbaum I und Birkenwald zur Auktion.
Vor wenigen Tagen hat sich die Goldene Adele zumindest vom populistischen Titel "teuerstes Kunstwerk der Welt" verabschieden dŸrfen. Laut einem Bericht der New York Times hat der amerikanische Filmproduzent David Geffen Jackson Pollocks GemŠlde No. 5 (1948) fŸr 140 Millionen Dollar verkauft. In den Listen der Auktionsrekorde tauchen private Deals freilich nicht auf.

Aktuell kann sich Christie's des Ansturms im Vorfeld seiner Auktionen am 8. (Evening Sale) und 9. November (Day Sale) kaum erwehren. Wie viele KaufauftrŠge vorliegen, wie viele Telefonleitungen allein fŸr die Gebote zu den Klimt-GemŠlden reserviert sind - bei solchen Details hŠlt sich das Auktionshaus naturgemŠ§ bedeckt. Den bisherigen Hšchststand von 1400 Telefonbietern fŸr Zeitgenšssisches in London wird man toppen.

Aber das ist der am wenigsten relevante Rekord, den es in den nŠchsten Stunden in New York zu brechen gilt. In keiner anderen Metropole werden innerhalb kŸrzester Zeit so viele RekordzuschlŠge eingespielt. Allein in den ersten vier Monaten dieses Jahres stieg der Preisindex in New York um satte 20 Prozent, zahlten KŠufer in AuktionssŠlen damit um 42 Prozent mehr als noch 1990. Im Mai hielt der Rekord bei den Evening Sales der Sparte Impressionist & Modern Art in New York keine 24 Stunden: Am Abend des 2. Mai bilanzierte Christie's mit 180,28 Millionen Dollar, dem weltweit hšchsten Ergebnis seit 1990. Vorerst. Am Abend des 3. Mai schaffte Sotheby's 207,6 Millionen Dollar.

Keine Frage, angesichts der aktuellen SchŠtzwerte machen sich selbst diese Summen lŠcherlich aus: Sotheby's beziffert die Erwartungen fŸr den Evening Sale am 7. November mit rund 227 bis 310 Millionen Dollar, wŠhrend Christie's die Taxen auf 340 bis 490 Millionen Dollar summiert: Insgesamt soll innerhalb von 24 Stunden Kunst fŸr zumindest 567 Millionen Dollar den Besitzer wechseln.

Die Chance auf mehr ist realistisch, selbst wenn der Picasso von 1903 nun nicht zur Auktion kommt. Das Berliner Moses-Mendelssohn-Institut hatte bei einem New Yorker Gericht den vorlŠufigen Stopp der Auktion beantragt. Das zugehšrige Hearing war bei Redaktionsschluss noch im Gange.

Zu klŠren gilt, ob ein frŸherer EigentŸmer des GemŠldes, der jŸdische Bankier Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, 1935 von den Nazis zum Verkauf des Bildes gezwungen wurde. 1995 hatte Andrew Lloyd Webber fŸr das GemŠlde bei Sotheby's 26 Millionen Dollar bezahlt. Die aktuelle Taxe lag bei 40 bis 60 Millionen Dollar. (Olga Kronsteiner/DER STANDARD, Print-Ausgabe, 8. 11. 2006)