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Mallet Auction Totals Dip as Star Lots Go Unsold

Mallet Japan Inc., an auction house established last summer, held its third major sale on Jan. 20. Despite presale buzz about several important artworks, some major offerings failed to sell. The auction total was ¥164 million ($1.4 million), down from the previous sale total of ¥318.14 million ($2.7 million), with 95, or 64.6 percent, of

TOKYO—Mallet Japan Inc., an auction house established last summer, held its third major sale on Jan. 20. Despite presale buzz about several important artworks, some major offerings failed to sell. The auction total was ¥164 million ($1.4 million), down from the previous sale total of ¥318.14 million ($2.7 million), with 95, or 64.6 percent, of 147 lots sold.

Yoga, or Western-style, paintings by Japanese artists, fared well at Mallet, including Tsuguharu Fujita’s oil Portrait de jenne fille, 1949, which fetched ¥15 million, or $128,200 (estimate: ¥14/18 million). Takanori Ogisu’s oil Cordonnerie Metro reached ¥13 million, or $111,100 (estimate: ¥13/18 million); and Yozo Hamaguchi’s Mezzotinto Paris no Yane, 1956, made ¥5.8 million, or $49,600 (estimate: ¥5/6 million).

Among top lots in Western art, the Pablo Picasso lithograph Jeune fille inspirée par Cranach, 1949, realized ¥4.4 million, or $37,600 (estimate: ¥3/4 million); and La Tauromaquia, a set of 26 works, 1959, also by Picasso, sold for ¥4.3 million ($36,750), above the estimated ¥2.5/3.5 million.

Among works that failed to find buyers were: Jean François Millet’s oil painting A Portrait of Pierre Grandin, 1845, estimated at ¥55/70 million; Katsushika Hokusai’s Ukiyo-e The Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa, 1831; and Hiroshi Senju’s Waterfall, estimated at ¥8/10 million. (Prices do not include the buyer’s premium.)

SUKI NAKAMICHI

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