Kurt Schwitters painting smashes record for the artist at auction

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The top selling piece at Tuesday’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale at Christie’s London was Ja – Was? – Bild (‘Yes-What?-Picture’), 1920, by Kurt Schwitters which sold for £13,970,500/$23,777,791/ €17,463,125, setting a new world record price for the artist at auction (estimate: £4-6 million).

Strong prices were also achieved for works by Magritte, Ernst and Miró.

In total, 22 works of art sold for over £1 million / 32 for over $1 million. The sale realised a total of £85,784,000/ $146,004,368/ €107,230,000, selling 67% by lot and 71% by value.

Jay Vincze, international director and head of the Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Christie’s London, said: “This sale was led by the exceptional 1920 Kurt Schwitters, ‘Ja – Was? – Bild (‘Yes-What?-Picture’)’, which soared to extraordinary new heights, smashing the previous auction record price for the artist (£1.3 million / $2 million).

“This work was part of the remarkable Langen Collection and follows on from the great success of the New York sales in May; the collection tonight achieved £20,335,000/ $34,610,170/ €25,418,750 against a pre-sale estimate of £9.6-14.1 million.

“The auction as a whole presented an eclectic mix of exciting and rare impressionist, avant-garde and modernist works, many of which had not been seen on the market in a generation or more. Discerning collectors competed in a selective market for rare works by Matisse, Marc and Giacometti. Surrealism continues to excite new and established collectors across geographies.”

Ja - Was? - Bild by Kurt Schwitters
Ja – Was? – Bild by Kurt Schwitters