Arts & Culture

Bill Koch-owned Picasso brings in $67 million in art auction


NEW YORK — A nude portrait by Pablo Picasso owned by former Wichitan Bill Koch brought in more than $67 million at Sotheby's on Thursday, a day after the auction house sold $377 million worth of art from the estate of its late former owner.

The fall art auction season got underway Wednesday evening with Sotheby's selling 77 works from the A. Alfred Taubman collection. The auction house said nearly 90 percent of the works were sold. At a day sale Thursday, Sotheby's featured an additional 122 works from the Taubman collection.

The auction house estimated the total value of the Taubman collection at $500 million.

On Thursday evening, Sotheby's offered impressionist and modern artworks from other collections including the Picasso. The sale brought in a total of $306.7 million, Sotheby's said.

The highlights of the evening sale were:


"The Nightclub Singer," by Picasso.

Sold for $67.45 million. Pre-sale estimate: $60 million.

Notable: The 1901 nude portrait painted in oil is from Picasso's Blue Period. It has the added allure of having a second picture on the reverse side, a discovery made during a 2000 conservation. It depicts a bawdy picture of Picasso's dealer, Pere Manach, and includes an inscription indicating it was intended as a gift to him. The seller was billionaire businessman Bill Koch, a 1992 America's Cup winner and brother of Charles and David Koch.


"Landscape Under a Stormy Sky," by Vincent van Gogh.

Sold for $54.01 million. Pre-sale estimate: $50 million to $70 million.

Notable: The current van Gogh auction record is $82.5 million. The painting depicts a meadow under threat of a storm and was created in 1889 two months before van Gogh painted his most celebrated work, "The Starry Night," and a year before his death.


"Mystic Suprematism (Black Cross on Red Oval)," by Kazimir Malevich.

Sold for $37.77 million. Pre-sale estimate: $35 million to $45 million.

Notable: The 1920-22 painting was given to the artist's heirs after residing in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam for 50 years.


"Water Lilies," by Claude Monet.

Sold for $33.85 million. Pre-sale estimate: $30 million to $50 million.

Notable: Monet's beloved garden in Giverny, France, is the inspiration for the 1908 oil on canvas, a subject he painted often. The work also was owned by Koch.