Renowned Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky can now add the title of record breaker to his illustrious name. The auction record for a Kandinsky artwork was smashed twice in one night at Sotheby’s New Bond Street auction house, with one of his paintings going for £21 million (HK$213 million) and a second one selling minutes later for £33 million. Kandinsky, who died in 1944, is credited with painting one of the first purely abstract paintings.
The first record-breaking Kandinsky painting to sell at the Sotheby’s auction was the 1909 work Murnau – landschaft mit grünem haus (Murnau – landscape with green house). That record only lasted six lots. Kandinsky’s 1913 artwork, Painting with White Lines, was expected to sell for about £27 million, but instead it went for a whopping £33 million. The painting was snapped up by a London-based German collector, who attended the auction in person.
“Collectors were out in force, participating from a record number of locations around the globe, with the level of Asian buyers as numerous as those from the US, underscoring the enduring importance of London as a key driver of the global art market,” says Helena Newman, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe.