Museum-quality pieces from old masters, historic jewels, and interior decorations: in May and June, before going on summer break, auction houses give collectors not a single day's rest.

The Magnificent Jewels of Anne Eisenhower
June 7, New York

Christie’s is bringing the Eisenhower family name back into the spotlight with this specialized auction of jewelry that belonged to Barbara Anne Eisenhower, an interior designer, collector, and, more importantly, a granddaughter of the 34th president of the United States. Among the highlights of the auction are the Van Cleef & Arpels Jarretière diamond-ruby bracelet ($2.5-4.5 million) previously owned by Marlene Dietrich, a 20.54-carat diamond ring ($1.2-1.8 million), and vintage items by Cartier and Tiffany & Co. 

Modern Evening Sale
May, New York

Since 2002, when Sotheby’s sold The Massacre of Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens for a record £49.5 million, auction houses often exhibit “newly-found” masterpieces by the great Flemish painter. They, however, generally overshoot their estimates – real selling figures fall far short of them. One such case was Salome, which Sotheby’s expected to fetch $35 million in January of this year. The artwork sold for only $27 million. But the auction house is not giving up. They are now listing the portrait that sold in 2000 for $8.2 million and then was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Price range estimates vary widely: from $20 million to $30 million. 

Old Masters
May 20, Cologne

Traditionally, Lempertz, the oldest German auction house, holds its main spring auction of paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the 15th to 19th centuries in Cologne. Collectors will not find million-dollar items here, but there will be plenty of high-quality interior paintings to please them. These include the Holy Magdalen Adoring the Cross (€350,000–400,000) by talented Baroque master Guido Reni, whose works are found in almost every museum around the world, a still life with game by Abraham Mignon (€300,000–400,000) and the landscape piece depicting a moonlit view of Istanbul by Ivan Aivazovsky (€300,000–500,000). 

Michael Goedhuis. Brush and Bronze
May 17, London

Asian art gathered by Michael Goedhuis, a British-Dutch collector, is well-known and features fine paintings and bronze sculptures by masters from China and Japan that have toured many museums around the world. His interest in all things Oriental started back in the 1970s, when he worked as an art consultant for the famous Colnaghi Gallery in London. Then he could also buy artwork at fairly reasonable prices as there was not widespread passion for this kind of art back in the day. Today he decided to auction off about a hundred works from his collection, ranging from ancient bronze art to contemporary calligraphy. 

Unknown author. Figure of Guanyin. Ming Dynasty

Masterpieces from the S.I. Newhouse Collection
May 13–15, New York

Several dozen masterpieces by Impressionist, Modernist, and Contemporary authors from the illustrious collection of media tycoon Samuel Irving Newhouse will participate in a special auction session in New York in May. The most expensive item in this collection is a stainless steel rabbit by Jeff Koons, valued at $50–70 million. It is followed by a Still Life with Milk Jug and Fruit by Paul Cezanne, which the auction house plans to go for at least $40 million; Arbres Dans Le Jardin De L’asile by Vincent van Gogh and a self-portrait by Francis Bacon (both worth $25 million). In total, the auction house intends to receive about $300 million for 27 artworks, which will be sold over three days at different auctions.

20th Century Evening Sale
May, New York

The centerpieces of the 20th Century Evening Sale are the final items from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s collection, which Christie’s began auctioning off last November. At that time, 155 works of exceptional quality were snatched up for $1.6 billion. However, there are still million-dollar-worth lots, and the current auction will feature two iconic floral works by Georgia O’Keeffe estimated at $6-8 and $5-7 million, as well as three landscape artworks by David Hockney, one of the most expensive living artists. The preliminary estimates for his vividly green artworks stand at $4 million and $8 million.

Hotel Bauer Palazzo
May 4, Paris

Auctions of items from historic hotels are always a treat for collectors and dealers. They always feature an enormous number of lots (the Bauer Palazzo auctions will have more than 4,000 of them) and items of celebrity status (the hotel saw its fair share of royalty and movie stars), as well as reasonable prices for exquisite items of all shapes and sizes. Here, you will find all kinds of things, from porcelain sets and antique prints to 18th- and 19th-century furniture. Some of these include a 19th-century Italian mirror in a Baroque frame valued at €3,000-4,000, an Art Deco silver sugar bowl for €300-500, and a set of Vianello silk curtains for €600-800.

Photo: Christie’s; Sotheby’s; Bonhams; LEMPERTZ; ARTCURIAL