LONDON (Reuters) - Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky's expressionist masterpiece "Studie zu Improvisation 3, 1909" will take centerstage at the London Impressionist and Modern art sale held by Christie's next month, the auction house said on Thursday.
The early 20th century artist's vibrantly colored painting of a knight on horseback is expected to fetch as much as 16 million pounds ($24.19 million) less than a year after a similar painting set a $23 million record for Kandinsky's work.
Kandinsky won't be the only highlight in an auction series that also includes works from Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Amedeo Modigliani and Paul Signac.
International Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie's London Jay Vincze said estimates for the June 18 sales topped 75.8 million pounds.
"The market for Impressionist and modern art at Christie's in 2013 shows great strength and draws global interest," he said.
"Studie zu Improvisation 3, 1909" belongs to Kandinsky's revolutionary series of paintings, started earlier that year, known as ‘Improvisations', which mark his first major forays into the realm of abstraction.
They are among the first paintings to mark the deliberate freeing of form and color from their conventional pictorial duties towards the creation of non-material, non-objective and abstract art of the spirit.
The romantic image of a lone knight preparing to storm the citadel is a clear and repeated symbol in Kandinsky's art of the dawning of a new age, of the coming of the Apocalypse and of the ultimate Resurrection of the spirit that would, Kandinsky believed, inevitably follow it.
Among the highlights of the other lots, Miro's 1952 painting "The Stem of the Red Flower Grows Toward the Moon" was estimated to top 7 million pounds at auction.
The painting was done during a pivotal year in the Spanish artist's career when he created some of his most revolutionary and acclaimed pictures.
Modigliani's portrait of his art dealer Paul Guillaume is one of only four and was expected to top 7 million pounds, while Picasso's 1960 "Femme assise dans un fauteuil" is one of a group of portraits of his partner Jacqueline Roque and estimated to earn up to 6 million pounds.
There are three Moore Sculptures up for sale. His 1944 "Family Group", the 1978-80 Reclining Figure No.7 and granite abstract "Stone Form" made in 1984, which has a top estimate of 1.8 million pounds.
Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Michael Roddy