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Luminous Paris Auctions Topple Prior Records

Recent sales held by Sotheby’s France, during what the house refers to as “Paris Week,” met with great success: Three auction sessions, held over a period of two days, realized a total of €37.2 million ($54.5 million)—the best results ever for a series of sales in Paris.

PARIS—Recent sales held by Sotheby’s France, during what the house refers to as “Paris Week,” met with great success: Three auction sessions, held over a period of two days, realized a total of €37.2 million ($54.5 million)—the best results ever for a series of sales in Paris. The first auction featured contemporary art and was followed the next day by a sale of Impressionist, modern and Surrealist art. All told, they fetched the highest amounts recorded in their respective categories since 2001, when Sotheby’s France first opened, while also setting several new auction records. “Paris has confirmed its stature in the international market for contemporary art,” declared Sotheby’s France president Guillaume Cerutti in a statement following the sale. Cerutti, a former managing director of the Pompidou Center who previously worked with the French ministries of culture and finance, was appointed head of Sotheby’s France this past fall.

At Christie’s France two December auctions achieved a total of €30.1 million ($44.4 million). Two important sales, spanning periods from the 19th century to the present, achieved impressive results and set several new records for individual artists. The house took €14.3 million ($21 million) for a sale of Impressionist and modern art on Dec. 3. Again at Christie’s France, on Dec. 11-12, sales of postwar and contemporary art fetched a total of €15.9 million ($23.3 million) and saw three artists’ records set.

Elsewhere, several other Paris houses realized robust results for their December auctions, including Artcurial, Piasa and Versailles Enchères Perrin-Royère-Lajeunesse. On Dec. 3 Artcurial held the first auction for modern and contemporary Indian art in France, a market that appears to be booming in numerous countries; the sale totaled €1.4 million ($2.1 million). And bringing the Paris season to a spectacular close, at Aguttes on Dec. 21, works from the collection of André Lefèvre, numbering ten in all, yielded €21.8 million ($32 million), against a presale estimate of $17/25 million.

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