The top lot of the series, Bauerngarten (Blumengarten) by Gustav Klimt – £42.5m at Sotheby’s.

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Sotheby’s and Christie’s raised a combined total of £372.8m, with a day sale still to run at the time of going to press, well up on the £230m posted at the equivalent sales last year. It was also up by over £80m on the June series.

In Numbers: Imps & Mods


Sotheby’s set its highest-ever total for a London evening sale on March 1, generating £194.8m including premium from 54 lots, with 48 selling on the night (89%).


Christie’s Impressionist & Modern evening sale and Surrealist art auction the night before raised a premium-inclusive £136.9m with 77 of the 84 lots selling (92%).


The top lot of the series was a floral painting by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Bauerngarten (Blumengarten), pictured above, which was pursued by four bidders and knocked down at £42.5m.

The 1907 painting had last appeared at auction at Christie’s London in November 1994 where it sold for £3.4m.

The lot was subject to an ‘irrevocable bid’ and a symbol in the catalogue also denoted that Sotheby’s had an ownership interest in the picture, leading to speculation that auctioneers had paid out for the picture before the sale. A Sotheby’s spokesman told ATG: “The symbol in the catalogue can mean full or partial ownership, but we can’t disclose any further details.”


A smaller and earlier Klimt portrait offered at Sotheby’s two lots after Bauerngarten (Blumengarten) was Madchen im Grunen (Girl in the Foliage), which again drew multiple phone bidders, surpassing a £1.2m-1.8m estimate. It was knocked down to the Gustav Klimt Vienna 1900 foundation at £3.7m.


Christie’s sales were led by Paul Gauguin’s Te Fare (La maison) which was knocked down at £18m.


Christie’s set an auction record for a René Magritte when La Corde Sensible, one of the few lots the auctioneers guaranteed, sold just below hopes at £13.5m.

The huge painting from 1960, depicting a cloud-topped champagne glass, fetched just £350,000 back in 1984. The previous record for Magritte was set at Sotheby’s in February 2014 when Le Beau Monde sold for £7.9m.


Bonhams had a rare early work by Dali in its Impressionist and Modern Art sale on March 2. Figura de perfil (La Hermana Ana María), given by the artist to his sister before their relationship descended into turmoil, was one of 17 paintings included in Dali’s first solo exhibition at the Galeries Dalmau, Barcelona, in 1925. Offered at auction for the first time, it was estimated at £800,000-1.2m and sold at £1.5m.