Click to copy
Click to copy

Picasso owned by a Houston estate nets $22 million

May 14, 2019

Pablo Picasso’s “La Lettre (La Réponse)” netted $22 million during Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening on Monday in New York, a sale that featured masterpieces from a half dozen leading private collections and realized a total of more than $399 million.

“Realized” prices include a buyer’s premium, or commission for the auction house, and are slightly higher than the actual sales prices. The realized price for the Picasso, for example, was actually $25.2 million. The names of buyers were not disclosed.

Originally owned by Houston art legend Sarah Campbell Blaffer, “La Lettre” is among a group of works from the estate of her middle daughter, H.S.H. Princess Titi von Furstenberg, being liquidated by brothers Joe and Lee Hudson, von Furstenberg’s sons. Paintings offered by the Hudsons on Monday realized a total of $47.4 million, with more works being offered Tuesday and Wednesday.

Among the top sellers of the von Furstenberg collection, Andre Derain’s “Les voiles rouges” realized $6.9 million; Mark Rothko’s “No. 16/No. 12 (Mauve Intersection) realized $5.4 million (well above its $3 million estimate); Jean Arp’s black granite sculpture “Entitée ailée” realized $3.9 million; and Jean Dubuffet’s “Paysage Aux Petits Météores” realized $2.8 million. Works by Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, and Emil Nolde did not sell.

During continuing sales this week, offerings by the Hudsons include paintings by Pierre-August Renoir, Piet Mondrian, Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and others.

Paul Cézanne’s still life “Boulloire et fruits” and Vincent van Gogh’s “Arbres dans le jardin de l’asile” from the the collection of American publishing magnate S.I. Newhouse, led the sales Monday, realizing more than $59 and $40 million, respectively. Amedeo Modigliani’s rare limestone sculpture “Tete,” previously owned by Paris Review publisher and philanthropist Drue Heinz, completed the top three, realizing $34.3 million.


All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.