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Italian Artists Heat Up Bidding at ArtCurial

The 635-lot sale of modern and contemporary art at ArtCurial, Paris, on Feb. 22-23 was 83 percent sold by lot and totaled just under €3 million ($3.6 million). Auctioneer Francis Briest noted “growing interest for intermediary pieces” and claimed Artcurial had “confirmed its position on the Italian market” with some “stupefying prices” that reflected the

PARIS—The 635-lot sale of modern and contemporary art at ArtCurial, Paris, on Feb. 22-23 was 83 percent sold by lot and totaled just under €3 million ($3.6 million). Auctioneer Francis Briest noted “growing interest for intermediary pieces” and claimed Artcurial had “confirmed its position on the Italian market” with some “stupefying prices” that reflected the efforts of the firm’s in-house Italian specialist Gioia Sardagna Ferrari.

An eight-lot “Italian Collection” achieved notable success that was led by Felice Casorati’s 1943 Nudo con i tre limoni, which fetched a double- estimate €160,320 ($190,800) from an Italian buyer. A study for Gli uomini che si voltano, circa 1930, by Gino Bonichi (known as Scipione), made a triple-estimate €51,800 ($61,640); and the abstract Forme plastiche di sensibilita aerea, 1930, by Luigi Colombo (known as Fillia), doubled its estimate at €99,890 ($118,900). The latter two works went to a bidder from the U.K.

Other leading prices from the sale’s modern art section included €49,330 ($58,700), for Nicolas- Alexandrovitch Tarkhoff’s Madame Tarkhoff Sitting with Her Son Boris, 1907; and €59,200 ($70,450), for Jeune fille aux fleurs in watercolor, ink and gouache by Le Pho (1907-2001). The leading sculpture was a 19-inch bronze with black patina by Chana Orloff—Torse, 1934, cast by foundry Susse Frères and numbered 2/8—which sold for €34,530 ($41,100).

The contemporary section was dominated by 48 lots from the collection of dealer Carlota Charmet (1924-2001), built up since the late 1950s and devoted to artists from the Nouvelle Figuration and Figuration Narrative movements that she had promoted. The ensemble doubled predictions to total €350,000 ($420,000), with only one work left unsold. There were auction records for Haiti’s Hervé Telemaque—€60,430 ($71,900), more than triple the estimate, paid by a French collector for his circular 1974 acrylic Coupe; and for Antonio Recalcati, whose 1972 Jambon de Paris, which also went to a French collector, won €22,200 ($26,420).

Other Italian artists in the collection to sell well included Mario Rossello, Cesare Peverelli, Aldo Bergolli and Gianni Dova, whose 1958 Untitled doubled hopes when it was returned to Italy for €12,330 ($14,670).

Among postwar works of other provenance: An undated Composition, by André Lanskoy (1902-76), was taken by a French collector for €86,330 ($102,700); a 1965 work, Contre jour, by Indian artist Syed Haider Raza, fell to the U.K. trade for a double-estimate €83,860 ($99,800); Victor Vasarely’s 1968 OND-BV went to a French private buyer for €40,700 ($48,430); and Mario Schifano’s giant 1987 Effetto notte found an Italian buyer for €30,830 ($36,700).

SIMON HEWITT

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