The select sale of 30 lots will be held in advance of a more traditional sale of pictures with a wider variety of price points.
The two auctions have also been rebranded as European Art Part I and European Art Part II – dropping the ‘19th century’ epithet from the sale title.
Both will be held on October 31 as part of Christie’s Classic Week auctions which coincide with the TEFAF New York fair.
Highlights from the Part I sale will be exhibited in Hong Kong, Shanghai and London in September as the auction house seeks to encourage greater international interest in the top level of a market which has fallen way behind sectors such as modern and contemporary art in recent decades.
Christie’s said it has taken the decision to launch the separate sale of “masterpiece-level art” after some strong individual results in the 19th century category.
These included record prices at the Rockefeller sale in May for artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix, Armand Séguin and Odilon Redon.
Among a group of key lots already announced for the European Art Part I sale is Edward Burne-Jones’ five-panel screen Paradise with the Adoration of the Lamb that was formerly in the collection of Yves Saint Laurent. It is estimated at $800,000-1.2m.
The rest of Christie’s calendar for 19th century European art remains unchanged, with another sale taking place in April in New York and the London auctions scheduled as usual for July and December.
Meanwhile, Sotheby’s will be selling 27 works from the collection of music talent-spotter Seymour Stein in London in July. The group of works focuses on 19th century and Pre-Raphaelite art and includes The Siren by John William Waterhouse which is estimated at £1m-1.5m.
The man who signed Madonna, and had previously handled the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Bee Gees, is also selling works by Simeon Solomon, Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.