One of Edgar Degas’ most famous works, Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (Little Dancer Aged Fourteen), is to be sold at Sotheby’s auction in London.
The iconic Degas ballet dancer sculpture has been estimated by experts at Sotheby’s to fetch £10 million – 15 million ($15 million – 23 million) on June 24.
The piece is one of few bronze casts in private hands with the majority housed in museums including Tate London and Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Helena Newman from Sotheby’s called it Edgar Degas’ “most important and iconic sculpture”.
She added: “The artist’s ambitious and highly innovative work marks the pinnacle of his achievements as a sculptor, and its forthcoming sale represents a rare opportunity to acquire an icon of Impressionist art.”
The original sculpture – modeled by a young Belgian ballet student named Marie van Goethem – is two-thirds life size and was originally sculpted in wax.
It is dressed in a real bodice, tutu and ballet slippers and has a wig of real hair.
Despite its reputation, the sculpture was not so well received when it first appeared.
The work was accused of representing the girl in a bestial manner; she was compared to a monkey who possessed a face “on which all the vices imprint their detestable promises, the mark of a particularly vicious character”.
However, critics had to acknowledge the work’s astonishing realism.
The 28 bronze repetitions that appear in museums and galleries around the world today were cast after Edgar Degas’ death in 1917.
Earlier this year, Alberto Giacometti’s Pointing Man also became the most valuable sculpture ever sold at auction, after going for $141.3 million.
Piet Mondrian’s 1929 oil painting Composition No III, with Red, Blue, Yellow and Black has sold for $50.6 million at a New York auction.
The sum is an auction record for the Dutch artist’s work.
The painting features the geometric style for which the artist became renowned.
The sale price, which includes a 12% buyer’s premium, was more than twice its estimate of $15million to $25 million.
Piet Mondrian’s previous auction record was $27.6 million.
The auction capped two weeks of sales that have brought in record sums of money at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses.
Christie’s alone took more than $1.3 billion during the course of its two days sales this week.
Sotheby’s and eBay will create a web platform to allow viewers to bid on and buy art.
According to Sotheby’s chief operating officer Bruno Vinciguerra, the international art auction house hoped to reach “the broadest possible audience around the world” with the move.
Sotheby’s said the number of lots purchased online increased 36% in 2013.
Online art sales are expected to reach $13 billion by 2020.
Sotheby’s and eBay will create a web platform to allow viewers to bid on and buy art (photo Getty Images)
In April, John James Audubon’s elephant-folio The Birds of America sold for $3.5 million online via a live auction at Sotheby’s – a record for the company.
The venture will start with live auctions streamed from Sotheby’s New York headquarters, which will allow “real-time bidding from anywhere around the world”.
Sotheby’s will offer 18 categories to start, focusing jewelry, watches, prints, wine, photographs and 20th century design – categories the company says have been particularly appealing to online buyers.
The move comes just ahead of eBay’s earnings, which are set to be released on Wednesday, and as more and more start-ups, such as Artsy, Artspace and Paddle8 allow consumers to buy art on the web.
In 2013, Amazon announced it would sell works by artists such as Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol on its website.
Sotheby’s and eBay declined to give a firm start date for the service.
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Two works from Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series have sold for a combined $100 million at Christie’s in New York.
1964’s Race Riot – inspired by pictures of a notorious civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama – went for $62.9 million.
Andy Warhol’s Race Riot was inspired by pictures of a notorious civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama
The 1962 painting White Marilyn, completed shortly after Marilyn Monroe took her life, sold for $41 million.
Alongside works by Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, the paintings helped Christie’s set a new auction record.
In total, the sale of post-war and contemporary art raised $744 million, the highest ever total for a single auction.
The previous highest figure was set in November 2013, also at Christie’s, when the grand total was $691.5 million.
Ten auction records were set at Tuesday night’s sale, with works by American sculptor Alexander Calder and artist Joseph Cornell fetching new high prices.
After a fierce round of bidding, Newman’s Black Fire I, a 1961 canvas showing a thick column of black alongside smaller ribbons of white and black, made $84.2 million, almost double his previous highest price.
Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards surged to $80.8 million, from an opening bid of $50 million.
Mark Rothko’s artwork “Orange, Red, Yellow” has achieved the highest ever price for a piece of contemporary art at auction – fetching $86.9 million.
The 1961 painting was sold at Christie’s in New York.
The auction house said the total takings of $388.5 million had beaten the previous record for a contemporary art auction, set in 2007.
Last week Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” set the world record for an artwork – selling for $119.9 million.
Another high-profile contemporary art auction takes place on Wednesday – when Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sleeping Girl” is the pick of the pieces going under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York. The estimated value is put at $30 million-$40 million.
Mark Rothko’s artwork “Orange, Red, Yellow” has achieved the highest ever price for a piece of contemporary art at auction fetching $86.9M
On Tuesday, “Orange, Red, Yellow” soared past the previous Mark Rothko record of $72.84 million.
Sales director Laura Paulson said the work was a personification of the art of Mark Rothko, who died in New York in 1970.
Francis Bacon’s Triptych held the previous post-war art record – selling for $86.3 million in 2008.
A total of 14 artists recorded new highs for their works on Tuesday, including the $36.5 million paid for Yves Klein’s piece “FC1” and the $21.8 million registered for Gerhard Richter’s “Abstraktes Bild”.
“The market really responded,” said Brett Gorvy, Christie’s international head of post-war and contemporary art.
“It is a very knowledgeable market, a very sophisticated market. We saw very seasoned collectors, as well as new collectors coming forward.”