A Max Beckmann Self-Portrait Could Sell for $30 Million—the Highest German Auction Estimate

Date:

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2022.
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • With a staggering estimate of €20 million to €30 million ($20 million to $30 million), a self-portrait by Max Beckmann is expected to be the top lot at the prestigious Berlin auction house Grisebach’s December 1 sale.
  • This is the highest estimate ever placed on a work of art on Germany’s secondary market, which is far smaller than those in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China.
  • In recent years, portraits of other sitters by Beckmann have sold for several million dollars, somewhat in line with predictions.
  • Portrait of a Turk (1926) sold for $2.7 million at Sotheby’s New York in October 2021, right in the middle of its $2 million to $3 million valuation.
  • Beckmann’s Weiblicher Kopf in Blau und Grau (Die gyptenin) sold for €5.5 million ($6.5 million) at Grisebach in 2018 to set the record for the highest winning offer at auction in Germany, confirming the artist as the country’s secondary market superstar.
File: Max Beckmann-self-portrait in florence.Jpg – Wikimedia Commons

With a staggering estimate of €20 million to €30 million ($20 million to $30 million), a self-portrait by Max Beckmann is expected to be the top lot at the prestigious Berlin auction house Grisebach’s December 1 sale.

This is the highest estimate ever placed on a work of art on Germany’s secondary market, which is far smaller than those in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China.

It is also the highest estimate ever offered for a Beckmann work, surpassing any of his recent auction results by a significant margin.

Self-Portrait Yellow-Pink

1943’s Selbstbildnis gelb-rosa (Self-Portrait Yellow-Pink) is an attractive self-portrait that lacks the gloomy intensity of many of the artist’s other self-portraits. With his arms firmly crossed and his gaze directed away from the spectator, he almost appears to be in a state of meditation.

Beckmann painted the picture during his exile in Holland and gave it to his wife, Quappi. It has stayed in private hands ever since, but the sales of the artist’s other self-portraits, which are among his most valuable works, provide some insight into how it may perform at auction.

Self-Portrait With Trumpet (1938) was auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York for $22.5 million in 2001, more than double its high estimate. This was a triumph in comparison to the $16.8 million earned by Selbstbildnis with Glaskugel (1936) in 2005, also at Sotheby’s, which just exceeded its high estimate of $15 million due to buyer’s premium.

In recent years, portraits of other sitters by Beckmann have sold for several million dollars, relatively in line with predictions. Portrait of a Turk (1926) sold for $2.7 million at Sotheby’s New York in October 2021, right in the middle of its $2 million to $3 million valuation.

A Max Beckmann Self-Portrait presence

These substantial sums reflect Beckmann’s status as one of the foremost artists of the early 20th century, linked with both German Expressionism and New Objectivity. The MoMA, the Albertina in Vienna, and the Art Institute of Chicago hold more self-portraits by this artist.

Despite this, the situation should raise eyebrows. In Germany, auctioned works are mainly sold by individual regional houses and rarely receive bids over $1 million.

Despite this, the country’s secondary market has grown in recent years, a development that is startling when compared to the declines observed by other markets following the pandemic. This increase may be linked to Brexit making Europe a lot more accessible alternative for both buyers and sellers, as well as Germany’s expanding population of young, international collectors.

Russisches Ballet (1909) by fellow German expressionist Max Pechstein, which sold for €2.4 million ($2.6 million), and Beckmann’s Grauer Strand, which was purchased for €1.8 million ($1.9 million), were among the summer sales’ seven-figure prices.

Beckmann’s Weiblicher Kopf in Blau und Grau (Die gyptenin) sold for €5.5 million ($6.5 million) at Grisebach in 2018 to set the record for the highest winning offer at auction in Germany, confirming the artist as the country’s secondary market superstar. Are we about to repeat the past?

The sculpture will be exhibited in New York from 5 to November 10, prior to its sale in Berlin.

 

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