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Constantin Brancusi, La muse endormie (1913)

57,000$
La muse endormie, a bronze egg-shaped sculpture of a head whose partially gilded surface has a matte, mottled effect, in contrast to Brancusi’s well-known sleek and polished bronzes, handily beat its estimate between $25 million and $35 million. It sold for $57.3 million at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale in May and set a new record for the artist. The auction house’s website indicated that this lot was secured with a third-party guarantee, the late addition of which likely raised the estimate from its initial $20 million to $30 million that had been indicated in the printed auction catalogue.

Fernand Léger, Contraste de formes (1913)

70,000$
Like the van Gogh painting, Léger’s Contraste de formes also went up for sale without a guarantee in New York’s November sale at Christie’s, following an embarrassment at the house’s early October London sale when a star lot, a 1971 Francis Bacon painting, failed to reach its reserve and went unsold in the absence of a guarantee. Léger’s canvas, painted at a pivotal moment in the artist’s career, not only sold for $70 million, but smashed the record for the artist, previously set at $39.2 million by La femme en bleu (study) (1912–13) at a 2008 sale at Sotheby’s in New York.