Sorin's photorealistic oil paintings, - photographically detailed landscape, seascape, still-life and animal oil paintings using classical techniques
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Landhaus am Attersee.
1914
$29,128,000
(est. $18 million-$25 million)
Sotheby’s New York, Nov. 5, 2003

1.Gustav Klimt
Klimt’s glorious summer landscape, one of several in a series made before the First World War, originally belonged to the Viennese art collector Jenny Steiner, a friend of Klimt's, but was looted by Nazi soldiers during World War II and only restituted to Steiner’s heirs in 2001. It subsequently ended up in the hands of the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, and then was “shopped around” on the private market before going on the auction block. The $29.1 million sale price, which includes the auction-house premium (as do all prices given here), is a new auction record for a work by the artist.


Descent into Limbo
ca. 1492
$28,568,000
(est. $20 million-$30 million)
Sotheby’s New York, Jan. 23, 2003

2.Andrea Mantegna
In this small (ca. 42 x 31 in.), exquisitely painted masterpiece, the Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) depicts Christ liberating the souls of the righteous from Limbo. The picture was originally painted while Mantegna was court artist for Lodovico Gonzaga, the Marquise of Mantua, and more recently was owned by American collector Barbara Piasecka Johnson. It sold to an anonymous telephone buyer for $28.5 million, more than three times the previous auction record for the artist.


Nu Couche
(Sur la Cote Gauche)
1917
$26,887,500 (est. $20 million-$25 million)
Christie’s New York, Nov. 4, 2003

3.Amedeo Modigliani
This languid saloon-style nude was, in fact, last seen at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas -- or rather, at an art gallery there exhibiting the collection of works owned by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn. Wynn purchased the painting for considerably more, according to art-world reports, from the collection of the late Paris-based collector Jacques Netter; no word on why he chose to sell the work now. In any case, the price is a new auction record for a work by Modigliani.


Dans les roses (Madame Léon Clapisson)
1882
$23,528,000
(est. $20 million-$30 million)
Sotheby’s New York
May 6, 2003

4.Pierre Auguste Renoir
This charming portrait of Parisian socialite Valentine Clapisson in the garden of her mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine was last exhibited in public in 1937 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Curiously, Clapisson rejected the painting and commissioned the artist to make a more conventional portrait (that now hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. This time around, Dans les roses was bought by Steve Wynn.


La Femme en rouge et vert
1914
$22,407,500
(est. $10 million-$15 million)
Christie’s New York
Nov. 4, 2003

5.Fernand Leger
This contraste en formes picture is believed to represent Jeanne Lohy, Leger's girlfriend and later his wife. Yet another example of Nazi war booty, the work had hung at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris until it was returned in 2003 to heirs of its original owner, Paris dealer Leonce Rosenberg. Several bidders on the telephones and in the auction room drove the price up well past its presale estimate to a hammer price of $20 million, a new auction record for the artist.


Krumauer Landschaft (Stadt und Fluss)
1916
£12,661,600 ($21,244,296)
(est. £5 million-£7 million)
Sotheby’s London, June 23, 2003

6.Egon Schiele
This uncharacteristic painting by Schiele of Krumau, a small town on the banks of the Moldau River where his mother was born, is uncharacteristically cheerful. The work was bought from the artist by the Austrian art collectors Wilhelm and Daisy Hellmann, but stolen by the Nazis in 1938; after the war the painting was bought by the Neue Galerie in Linz, where it remained until it was restituted in 2003. The current price is a new record for a work by the artist.


Portrait of Paul Cezanne
ca. 1895
$17,367,500
($15 million-$20 million)
Christie’s New York, May 7, 2003

7.Paul Cezanne
Buyer of this haunting and rare Cezanne self-portrait, painted by the artist at age 55, was Steve Wynn. The seller, according to art-market reports, was the financially ailing Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan. Following the work’s sale at Christie’s, Wynn had the auctioneer announce to the press that the Cezanne would hang as part of the Wynn Collection in Las Vegas alongside a still life painted by the artist in the same year and Renoir’s Dans les roses (Madame Leon Clapisson).


No.9 (White and Black on Wine)
1958
$16,359,500
(est. $8 million-$12 million)
Christie’s New York, May 14, 2003

8.Mark Rothko
No. 9 was commissioned by Miles van der Rohe and Philip Johnson for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York’s Seagram Building. The long horizontal panel, unusual for Rothko, was designed especially for the space but in the end Rothko rejected the commission, saying that the project conflicted with his beliefs as a socialist. This time around, according to art-market reports, the painting was put on the block by art collector (and Christie’s owner) Franзois Pinault. After a heated salesroom battle, it was won by Robert Mnuchin, chairman of the Manhattan gallery C&M Arts.


Incantation
1902
£7,621,600 ($12,787,920)
(est. £7 million-£9 million)
Sotheby’s London, June 23, 2003

9.Paul Gauguin
Alternately titled The Apparition, this lush scene shows a Tahitian in a royal purple cloak standing in the forest in front of a naked Tahitian woman in the shallow waters of a stream -- presumably the “apparition.” It was bought in London by an anonymous telephone bidder, who, according to veteran auction journalist Souren Melikian, "did not appear to have much competition, if any at all."


L'allée des Alyscamps
1888
$11,767,500
(est. $12 million-$18 million)
Christie’s New York, Nov. 4, 2003

Vincent van Gogh
This glorious fall landscape, painted in Arles in 1888, was one of the first works van Gogh painted following the arrival there of his friend and mentor Paul Gauguin. The painting depicts “The Elysian Fields,” an ancient Roman eemetery consisting of a long promenade lined with poplars and stone sarcophagi. The work sold for under its presale low estimate to a single bid, according to auction observers.

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