While the 2021 auction season has been dominated by contemporary art sales—$12m for a Banksy, $15m for a Colescott, $50m for a Basquiat—the market for Impressionist works has softened with a lack of supply of top works. That may change this November in New York, as Christie’s will auction what it is ambitiously dubbing “one of the greatest American collections to ever appear on the market.”
The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism will feature 25 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from the collection of Edwin Lochridge Cox and is expected to fetch upwards of $200m. Cox, a Dallas-based oil man and philanthropist, began his collection 50 years ago, and according to the art advisor Stephanie Connery, many of the works have not been seen in public since before the Second World War.
Highlights of the collection include one of Gustave Cailleboite’s best known works, Jeune homme à sa fenêtre, which was featured in the first exhibition of Impressionist works in America in 1886. The picture, which shows Cailleboite’s brother Rene gazing out from a Parisian apartment, is an elegant mix of academic technique and realism. The work is expected to fetch over $50m.
Also included in the sale is Paul Cezanne’s L'Estaque aux toits rouges (1883-1885), a brilliantly coloured picture in which it is easy to see the seeds of Cubism taking root (est. $35m-$55m), and Vincent van Gogh’s Cabanes de bois parmi les oliviers et cyprès (1889), estimated in the region of $40m.