Pablo Picasso was once famously quoted: "My one and only master . . . Cézanne was like the father of us all", and never before have his words rung more true than in the Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art auction on Tuesday (May 1).
Cézanne's watercolour study for his famous work, The Card Players sold for $19.1m and drew tremendous press attention to the auction.
The success of the important study overshadowed the auction's cover lot, Henri Matisse's Les Pivoines. The work received an identical sale price to the Cézanne study in New York, seeing an increase of 59.3% against a high estimate of $12m.
Also in the sale was a selection of works by Pablo Picasso, who certainly would not have been concerned with trailing behind Cézanne. The top lot among the Picasso works on offer was his Le Repos. Featuring his famed mistress and model Marie-Thérése Walter, the superb work brought $9.8m
Picasso featured heavily at Christie's with Deux nus couches among the best-sellers at $8.8m. His Femme assise made $5.2m against an estimate of $3.5m, while Mousquetaire et nu assis and Femme dans l'atelier brought $4.2m and $4.1m, respectively.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a wonderful signed postcard from Picasso in stock. This item features the artist's signature in blue ink on a postcard photo of his 1902 work, The Absinthe Drinker.
In contrast to the bold style of Pablo Picasso was Claude Monet's Les demoiselles de Giverny. Painted in Monet's trademark delicate style, the piece sold for $9.6m.
"This was a carefully edited sale that brought together collecting options at the highest level of market while hitting the market 'sweet spot' of mid-priced works by blue-chip artists like Picasso, Matisse, Monet, and Moore," commented Christie's Marc Porter.