The sale of more than 1,500 fine and decorative art objects from the Getty collection raised over $150 million, all of which will benefit the couple’s charity, The Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts.
An extraordinary series of auctions from the celebrated collection of Ann and Gordon Getty concluded on 25 October, achieving a total in excess of $150 million. Across two weeks and ten auctions — four live, six online — more than 1,500 works of fine and decorative art, jewelry and textiles from the couple’s private collection were 100% sold.
This success ranks The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection among the top three collections of both fine and decorative arts to sell at Christie’s, alongside The Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé and The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller.
‘We are all immensely proud to have overseen a week of sales that has confirmed Ann Getty’s exquisite taste and singular eye for excellence,’ said Jonathan Rendell, Christie’s Deputy Chairman. ‘It is especially gratifying to see the strength in interest across the board from Chinese Works of Art, to English and Continental Furniture, to textiles, table decorations, and handbags. The Getty sales are proof that the market continues to value great connoisseurship and that quality is timeless.’
Kicking off the whirlwind series was the evening sale of Volume 1: Important Pictures and Decorative Arts on Thursday 20 October, which sold 100% of the lots at 128% above the low estimate. The live auction drew nearly 2 million viewers online and achieved a final total of $79,408,900.
Volume 2: Old Master, 19th and 20th Century Paintings took place the next day, Friday 21 October. The sale totalled $33,871,230, 145% above the low estimate. Volume 3: English and European Furniture, Porcelain and Silver followed on Saturday 22 October and realised a final total of $13,408,320, 264% above the low estimate.
The live sales concluded on Sunday 23 October with Volume 4: Chinese Works of Art, English and European Furniture and Decorative Arts. Featuring 176 lots, the sale totalled $12,831,336.
The online auctions also saw great success. Offering nearly 900 lots across six separate sales, they realised a total of more than $10 million. This brought the sale of The Ann & Gordon Getty Collection to a grand total of over $150 million, the proceeds of which will benefit the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts, dedicated to support arts and science organisations.
The landmark series of sales was led by Volume 1, which achieved $79,408,900. The sale, which was 100% sold, broke four records and saw strong results across a range of collecting categories.
The top lot of the evening was Mary Cassatt’s Young Lady in a Loge Gazing to Right. Acquired by the Pola Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan, for $7,489,000, the painting broke a 15-year-old record for the artist. Originally owned by Paul Gauguin, the work depicts a young lady in an opera box and displays Cassatt’s early interest in the theatre of everyday life. Rendered in pastel, gouache and metallic pigment, Cassatt captures the spirit of her subject as well as her beauty.
Other artist records were set by Jacques-Émile Blanche’s Vaslav Nijinsky in ‘Danse Siamoise,’ which achieved $2,700,000 against a low estimate of $1,000,000, and Jules Bastien-Lepage’s Portrait de Sarah Bernhardt, which sold for $2,280,000, more than four times the low estimate. Jean-Antoine Watteau’s drawing Three Head Studies Of A Girl Wearing A Hat set a record for a work on paper by the artist, earning a final price of $3,420,000 against a low estimate of $1,500,000.
Courtesy Christie’s Full auction report here