Reprinted from yesterday's late editions

Following on the gold-tipped heels of Monday's $88.2 million impressionist sale, Christie's 20th-century offerings Tuesday delivered $99.9 million. Tuesday's buyers were equally deep-pocketed but considerably more discriminating, especially with material that carried recent auction history. Seventeen lots sold for more than $1 million each and two artist records were set, but 15 of the 53 lots failed to sell. The action resumed last night at Sotheby's with a single-owner sale of modern works, again starring Picasso.

Item Price


Pablo Picasso, "Nude in a Black Armchair"

The reclining portrait of the artist's voluptuous blond mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, is part of a storied series from that vintage year 1932 and one that has brought huge prices at auction. "The Dream" sold at Christie's in November 1997 for $48.4 million and "The Mirror" realized $20 million in November 1995. "Nude," from the estate of San Francisco heiress Madeleine Haas Russell, a great-grandniece of bluejeans magnate Levi Strauss, becomes the fourth-highest Picasso to sell at auction. The Picasso record stands at $51.65 million for the 1989 sale of "The Marriage of Pierrette." Eleven Russell lots accounted for almost two-thirds of the evening's tally, bringing $71.3 million.

$45.1 million

$41.5 million-$46.7 million

Giovanni Segantini, "Spring in the Alps"

Extremely rare to the market and huge in scale, the wide-angled vista was commissioned by Haas Russell's uncle Jacob Stern in 1897. The painting had hung at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, on loan from the family since July 1928. Tuesday's price easily crushed the auction record of $267,446 set by Segantini's "Study for Existence (or Nature)" at Sotheby's Zurich in June 1995. It sold to New York gallery French and Co.

$9.57 million

$4 million-$6 million

Henri Matisse, "Reclining Nude (Aurore)"

Another Haas Russell standout, the curvaceous bronze cast from circa 1912 enchanted the salesroom in a red-hot bidding war, ultimately won by an anonymous telephone bidder. New York dealer Robert Mnuchin of C&M Arts was the underbidder.

$9.24 million

$2 million-$3 million

Marc Chagall, "The Yellow Room"

This 1911 interior with a view of the artist's Russian village shows off Chagall's most revolutionary period. A lone samovar, standing its ground on the threadbare table, defies gravity, as the artist did with conventional rules. It last sold at Christie's London in 1985 for $1.1 million.

$5.5 million

$5 million-$7 million

Henry Moore, "Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points"

The bronze behemoth roared above expectations. It formerly graced Haas Russell's modernist home in San Francisco and tied the record for a Moore sculpture at auction.

$4.07 million

$2 million-$3 million


Marcel Duchamp, "Chessboard"

A storied chess player, Duchamp roughly crafted this board with 64 squares nailed and glued on plywood. Without its history, it could be mistaken for a flea-market curiosity.




Giovanni Segantini, "Springtime in the Alps"

Rarity is the buzzword and this museum-cloistered beauty demonstrated the awesome wealth of the art market.

$9.57 million

$4 million-$6 million


Pablo Picasso, "Nude Pulling Back Her Hair"

This solitary figure from the artist's Rose Period in 1905 was originally owned by Picasso champion and expatriate wordsmith Gertrude Stein. It last sold at Sotheby's New York in May 1982 for a then-impressive $429,000. Estimated at $5 million-$7 million, it flamed out at $4 million Tuesday night.