Fragments of Mars and other extraterrestrial objects at Christie’s

Meteorites are among the world’s most rarefied objects: the collective weight of every known specimen is less than the world’s annual output of gold. Chunks that fall from the Moon or Mars are the rarest yet. Christie’s “Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar and other Rare Meteorites” sale boasts a selection of some of the Earth’s most storied specimens. Standout lots include the third largest piece of Mars on Earth ($500,000–$800,000); a meteorite that took a cow off its feet – the only meteorite-inflicted death on record ($3,000-$5,000); another that struck a doghouse in Costa Rica ($40,000–$60,000); and the devastated doghouse itself ($200,000–$300,000)­­. There is also a piece of Libyan Desert glass, created some 29mn years ago when an asteroid impact melted the sand ($150,000–$250,000). “Awe and wonder seem to be in short supply these days,” says curator and expert Darryl Pitt, “but not when you have in your hand an object from outer space that is older than the Earth.” Open online for bidding until 23 February; christies.com

A pallasite meteorite from inside the asteroid belt is expected to reach $10,000-$15,000 at Christie’s online-only auction
A pallasite meteorite from inside the asteroid belt is expected to reach $10,000-$15,000 at Christie’s online-only auction
The third-largest piece of Mars on Earth (estimate $500,000-$800,000)
The third-largest piece of Mars on Earth (estimate $500,000-$800,000)

Art in aid of The Warburg Institute

Founded in Hamburg by the pioneering art historian Aby Warburg, The Warburg Institute – and its collection of 80,000 books (which today numbers 350,000) – was uprooted to London in the 1930s to save it from the Nazis, and has been a leading centre for interdisciplinary study across art and culture ever since. Now, contemporary artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Cornelia Parker and Edmund De Waal are donating works to help fund the completion of the Bloomsbury building’s £14.5mn renovation and expansion. Highlights include Anselm Kiefer’s gold-toned Der Morgenthau-Plan (£25,000-£35,000) and Michael Joo’s sculpture of cranes’ legs, DRWN (Carunculatus) AI 2 (£15,000-£25,000). “I always think of The Warburg Institute as a perfect, quiet place to absorb culture,” says Parker. “Having previously exhibited there in 1999, I’m glad to be donating one of my photogravures for this auction to further allow others to explore their love of art history.” 4 March; phillips.com

Der Morgenthau-Plan, 2021, by Anselm Kiefer (estimated £25,000-£35,000) is among the lots at Phillips’ auction for The Warburg Institute
Der Morgenthau-Plan, 2021, by Anselm Kiefer (estimated £25,000-£35,000) is among the lots at Phillips’ auction for The Warburg Institute © Courtesy of Phillips
DRWN (Carunculatus) AI 2, 2015, by Michael Joo (estimate £15,000-£25,000)
DRWN (Carunculatus) AI 2, 2015, by Michael Joo (estimate £15,000-£25,000) © Courtesy of Phillips

A chance to own one of Monet’s water lilies

Claude Monet’s oeuvre can be understood as a gradual movement towards abstraction, from his early portraits and leisure scenes to the soft-focus landscapes of his Normandy garden. By the time he retired to his country house at Giverny in the late 19th century, he was focused almost entirely on abstract renderings of his lily pond (now known as his Nymphéas paintings). A late work from this period is due to go on sale, along with five others Monets, in a Sotheby’s sale in London next month.

Last auctioned four decades ago, one Claude Monet’s Nymphéas paintings (c1914-17) could reach £20mn at Sotheby’s next month
Last auctioned four decades ago, one of Claude Monet’s Nymphéas paintings (c1914-17) could reach £20mn at Sotheby’s next month

Last at auction more than four decades ago and not exhibited since 1995, the painting – from an illustrious Japanese collection – is expected to provoke fierce competition, with estimates putting the sale between £15mn and £20mn. Also in the lot is a version of Magritte’s masterpiece L’Empire des Lumières, which the Belgian artist gifted to his muse Anne-Marie Gillion Crowet. On view in London at a presale exhibition from 22 February before March 2 auction; sothebys.com


Treasures from François and Betty Catroux’s French Riviera residence

François Catroux and his wife Betty were a fixture of Paris’s glittering social scene in the 1970s: he was the glamorous decorator behind the mansions and grand apartments of the likes of Diane von Furstenberg and various Rothschilds; she was Yves Saint Laurent’s muse. This month, the entire contents of the couple’s stylish residence on the French Riviera – decorated by Catroux (who died in 2020 aged 83) – will go on sale in a single auction held by Sotheby’s. Comprising around 100 lots, the collection reflects Catroux’s eclectic personal taste, spanning works by 20th-century artists such as Jean Cocteau, Luis Tomasello and Tom Wesselmann, as well as antiques and a few of his own rare creations. 24 February, sothebys.com

After Spring and Before Summer chaises longues from 1992 by Ron Arad (estimate €80,000– €120,000)
After Spring and Before Summer chaises longues from 1992 by Ron Arad (estimate €80,000– €120,000)

A survey of the British landscape

Collector-dealer Martyn Gregory made his name with China trade paintings, but it’s the imposing landscapes of British artists that he holds most dear. Predominantly composed of works on paper, Gregory’s collection spans three centuries of moody skies, rolling hills and golden pastures, each telling the story of British art. Almost 200 of these works are up for auction, with top lots set to include a Georgian painting of Rochester Castle by Samuel Scott (£15,000-£25,000), Edward Dodwell’s The Phlegraean Fields (£12,000-£18,000) and a landscape by 20th-century artist John Nash (£3,000-£5,000). The sale will also include a selection of portraiture, still-life and interiors, most notably Daniel Gardner’s Portrait of the Drake Family (£30,000-£50,000). 10-24 March; christies.com

Christie’s Dramas of Light and Land: The Martyn Gregory Collection of British Art sale includes Ruined Ash Tree in Rydale Park by William Green (estimate £4,000-£6,000)
Christie’s Dramas of Light and Land: The Martyn Gregory Collection of British Art sale includes Ruined Ash Tree in Rydale Park by William Green (estimate £4,000-£6,000) © Christie’s
John Nash’s Hilly Landscape (estimate £3,000-£5,000)
John Nash’s Hilly Landscape (estimate £3,000-£5,000) © Christie’s

The best ever Bentley

Bentley would have gone bust in the first year of the Great Depression were it not for Rolls-Royce, which came to its rescue by acquiring the company in 1931 (it’s now owned by Volkswagen). The first car to be produced under the aegis of its new owner was the Derby Bentley, a much lauded vehicle that became popular with the interwar elite and was nicknamed the Silent Sports Car for its quiet thrum. The very first edition of the 3.5-litre Sports Tourer to come off the production line in 1933 (gloss black with a sky-blue leather interior) will be up for sale in Bonham’s Amelia Island Auction in Florida on 3 March. This particular vehicle has drawn much praise from the high-profile autophiles who have test-driven it: the Le Mans 24-hour winner Earl Howe called it “one of the most wonderful treats that I have had for a very long time”. (Estimate $400,000) The Amelia Island Auction at Fernandina Beach Golf Club, Amelia Island, Florida, 3 March; bonhams.com

A 1933 Bentley 3.5-litre Sports Tourer is up for sale in Florida next month (estimate $400,000)
A 1933 Bentley 3.5-litre Sports Tourer is up for sale in Florida next month (estimate $400,000) © Bonhams

Chinese snuff bottles from the Rachelle R Holden Collection

The first snuff bottle that Rachelle R Holden purchased was in 1974, more than 300 years after they became popular in China (Europeans preferred to keep their powdered tobacco in boxes). Enamoured with the delicate calligraphy and tactile stonework, Holden went on to collect Chinese snuff bottles from several notable eras, including one that bears the mark of the emperor Qianlong (1736-95). This, along with more than 100 other examples, will be sold in New York next month, marking a recent rise in demand for these intricate vessels. Particularly beautiful are the bottles carved from Yixing stoneware ($60,000-$80,000), black and white jade ($80,000-$120,000) and finely embellished agate ($10,000-$15,000) – the latter can probably be traced back to the Qing dynasty’s imperial workshops. 24 March; christies.com

A 19th-century multicoloured glass snuff bottle from Yangzhou (estimate €22,000-€31,000) 
A 19th-century multicoloured glass snuff bottle from Yangzhou (estimate €22,000-€31,000) © Christie’s
A very rare enamelled glass snuff bottle from the imperial workshop of the 18th-century emperor Qianlong (estimate €360,000-€530,000) 
A very rare enamelled glass snuff bottle from the imperial workshop of the 18th-century emperor Qianlong (estimate €360,000-€530,000) © Christie’s

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