Friday May 30, 2003

23.5 Millon Dollar Reject

The price fixing scheme between Christie’s and Sotheby’s of a couple of years ago has flaked off the public’s memory like cheap old paint.

In a previous post, Going Once, I wrote about a New York Times article that reported on a tighter market among the rich players. As it turns out, not all that tight after all, as Christie’s New York recent sale of Impressionist and modern art did turn a profit.

Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn payed $17,367,500 (est. $15,000,000-$20,000,000) for a rare ca. 1895 self-portrait at age 55 by Paul Cézanne. Wynn also bought Renoir’s Among the Roses (1882) for $23.5 million. The large canvas (39 3/8 x 31 7/8 in.) captures Madame Clapisson in the garden of the couple’s mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Among the Roses was rejected by Monsieur Clapisson who insisted Renoir repaint his wife’s portrait in a more formal manner, which the painter did.

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