Record paid for a work by Soutine

Christopher Knight

A 1921 portrait of an unidentified man with a red scarf by Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) sold for $17.2 million at Sotheby’s London auction house Monday, a record for works by the Lithuanian-born French Expressionist painter.

The Soutine sale was closely watched after a recent agreement by the UCLA Hammer Museum to return a 1929 Soutine portrait of the same size, and 91 other paintings, to the Armand Hammer Foundation.

When the deal is completed, the foundation will no longer be a partner in overseeing the operation of its namesake museum.


Monday’s auction price outstripped Soutine’s prior record of $13.9 million, set in London at Christie’s last year. (Both figures include the buyer’s premium, a charge levied by the auctioneer in addition to the sale price.)