A fourteen-year-old dancer by Edgar Degas sold for $41.6 million (40 million euros) Thursday night at Christie’s in New York, the highest auction price for a work by a French artist. The record was also broken for a bronze Picasso.
Degas’ work (1834-1917) is a delicate bronze with brown patina, depicting with the realism and detail of a young ballerina in her chiffon skirt, with a ribbon in her hair. This is not the artist’s original, exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, but one of the proofs made ten years after the death of the French Impressionist by founder Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard. This did not prevent Degas from setting a new record. The previous version, in 2015 in London, worth 22.2 million euros, came from another version of the little dancer.
The statue, valued at 20-30 million for Christie, was one of twelve pieces in the collection of Anne Bass, an American businesswoman who died in 2020, a patron of several major American museums and the New York Ballet, who was the billionaire’s wife. And heir to the Texas oil empire, Sid Bass.
All works during his lifetime were exhibited in his luxurious apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan: among them, two paintings of American expressionist Mark Rothko (1903-1970), one of them “Untitled (Shades of Red)” went to 66.8 million. dollars (64.26 million euros) and three paintings by Claude Monet (1840-1926). His Parliament, Sunset Sun, an oil on dark and bright canvas, sold for $75.96 million (€73 million).
Rain records this week
That same evening, Christie’s announced that Pablo Picasso’s sculpture, “The Head of a Woman (Fernand)”, had become the artist’s most expensive bronze ever sold at auction, valued at $48.48 million (€46.64 million).
The Spanish painter (1881-1973), on Monday evening, lost the title of the most expensive work of the twentieth century at an auction called “Women of Algeria (version 0)”, which sold for 179.4 million dollars (169, 9 million euros). In 2015, after the portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol surpassed, which amounted to 195 million dollars (184.7 million euros).
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