Leonora Carrington Takes Place As Top British-Born Woman Artist During Sotheby’s Modern Evening Sale in New York

Written by Staff Writer

Leonora Carrington Takes Place As Most Valuable British-Born Woman Artist-Les Distractions de Dagobert Sells For Record-Shattering $28.5m at Sotheby’s

“An iconic painting, The Distractions of Dagobert, is one the most admired works in the history of surrealism and an unparalleled masterpiece of Latin American art. I was the underbidder when she reached the artist’s record 30 years ago and tonight once again, we made a new auction record! This masterpiece will be part of a collection where amongst other two important works by Remedios Varo and another record breaking  Frida Kahlo are also found.” Eduardo F. Costantini,  the founder of Malba, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires – Fundación Costantini, and buyer of Les Distractions de Dagobert by Leonora Carrington



Record Achieved During Sotheby’s Modern Auction in New York Tonight:

  • Lot 20, in a historic moment, Leonora Carrington’s Les Distractions de Dagobert, sold for a record-breaking $28.5m (est. $12-18m) after a ten minute bidding battle – smashing her former record of $3.3m, set at Sotheby’s in 2022
    • New record price places Carrington within the top 5 most valuable women artists at auction, alongside Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, and Joan Mitchell & top 4 most valuable Surrealist artists at auction, overtaking Max Ernst and Salvador Dali
    • It also makes Carrington the most valuable British-born woman artist at auction
    • The painting was acquired by Eduardo F. Costantini, a renowned collector with a longstanding commitment to supporting Latin American art and artists. Costantini is the founder of Malba, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires – Fundación Costantini
    • Full press release available here for additional background
    • Key Facts & Figures From Sotheby’s Modern Sale:
      • Tonight’s Modern Evening Auction totaled $235.1m – near the top end of the pre-sale estimate ($180.9 – $250.7m) – and up on last season’s sale
      • 96% sold by lot
      • 8 works sell for more than $10m
      • Buyers from Asia accounted for nearly quarter of tonight’s sale value: Lot 8 (Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Roses dans un vase de cristal), Lot 11 (Claude Monet, Meules à Giverny), Lot 13 (Claude Monet, Bennecourt), Lot 19 (Remedios Varo, Esquiador (Viajero), Lot 40 (Joan Miró, Personnage gothique, oiseau éclair), Lot 44 (Edvard Munch, Fjordlandskap (Fjord Landscape))
      • Deep bidding: Alexander Calder (Lot 3) 6 bidders; Claude Monet (Lot 11) 3 bidders who chased for ten minutes, Remedios Varo (Lot 19) 4 bidders; Leonora Carrington (Lot 20) 6 bidders competed for 10 minutes; Édouard Manet (Lot 31) 4 bidders

      Elsewhere in Tonight’s Sale: 

      • 2024 marks historic milestones for the Impressionist and Surrealist movements: the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition and the 100th anniversary of the Surrealist Manifesto–both propelling radical changes in the history of art
      • An Eye for Impressionism Collection: 
        • Among the moments celebrating the history of Impressionism was an exceptional group of 8 works from an important American estate, which totaled $47m
        • Among the highlights was Claude Monet’s Meules à Giverny, which sold for $34.8m, alongside works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Le Sidaner, Claude Pissaro, Childe Hassam, and others
      • 100% of Surrealist works on offer tonight sold, surpassing their combined high estimate.

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