Van Gogh balloon
To celebrate the re-opening of the landmark Immersive Van Gogh location, a 91-ft high Van Gogh Hot Air balloon, a reproduction of Vincent Van Goghs 1887 painting Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat is inflated in an Ontario Place parking lot.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Quartet of Van Gogh Paintings Sell Far in Excess of Auction Estimates

Is it a sign of a shift in the art market?

Is the market for Vincent van Gogh’s work increasing? That’s one conclusion you might reach after hearing news of a recent sale at Christie’s. Following the death last year of Edwin L. Cox, Christie’s was tasked with auctioning off his art collection, which featured a host of notable Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art. The collection also included a number of big names in addition to van Gogh, such as Gustave Caillebotte and Paul Cézanne.

Adrien Meyer, Global Head, Private Sales, and Co-Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art described the collection as “Perhaps one of the finest collections of Impressionist art to ever come to auction.” And while observers had forecast the auction — which took place on November 11 — to find some of the works selling for significant amounts, the four van Gogh paintings sold for far more than had been expected.

Writing at The Art Newspaper, Martin Bailey has more details on the auction and what it might signify. The four paintings in question sold for a total of $161 million. Of that amount, the painting Wooden Cabins among the Olive Trees and Cypresses sold for $71 million — the second-highest price for one of van Gogh’s paintings paid by a buyer this century.

While all four paintings sold for more than their estimates, some sold for significantly more than others. Young Man with a Cornflower, painted in 1890, was estimated to sell for between $5 and $7 million, according to Bailey’s report. It ended up selling for $46.7 million. Time (and careful monitoring of future auctions) will tell whether this is a singular event or evidence of a shift in the art market.

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