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    Auction Roundup: Paris Sales Point to Thriving Middle Market

    Two sales at Tajan in Paris last month yielded a number of surprisingly strong results for individual works.

    PARIS—Two sales at Tajan in Paris last month yielded a number of surprisingly strong results for individual works. In its sale of modern art on March 9, several works sold for prices well above expectations. Bernard Buffet’s stark oil Bouquet de fleurs, 1963, doubled its E20,000/30,000 estimate to sell for E62,678 ($85,242). Another painting of flowers by Buffet, dated 1953, also did well, selling for E12,751 ($17,341) on an estimate of E5,000/7,000. Leonor Fini’s Couple, 1983, an oil on paper mounted on canvas, sold for E21,676 ($29,479) on a E5,000/6,000 estimate.

    Portrait de femme, an oil on cardboard by Romanian painter Ion Tuculescu (1910–1962), sold for E21,676 ($29,500) on a E6,000/9,000 estimate. La plage, a pastel and charcoal drawing by Eugène Boudin (1824–98), sold for E6,885 ($9,360) on an estimate of E1,000/1,500. A ca. 1865–67 pastel by the artist of the quai at Honfleur in Normandy sold for E15,301 ($20,809), at the top of the E12,000/15,000 estimate. Boudin’s oil Bre­tagne. Voiliers dans une baie, 1872, took E25,502 ($344,682), below the E30,000/40,000 estimate.

    Raoul Dufy’s La régate, ca. 1920, estimated at E15,000/20,000, sold for E34,176 ($46,480). Barque au ponton à Porquerolles, an oil-on-panel by Albert Marquet (1875–1947) sold for E27,980 ($38,050) on a E12,000/15,000 estimate. Jean Fautrier’s painting Artichaut, ca. 1926, sold for E14,026 ($19,075), within its E12,000/15,000 estimate. Gouaches by the artist also sold well, including a 1937 nude that sold for E7,650 ($10,400), surpassing its estimate of E3,000/5,000.

    In the sale of Old Master paintings on March 24, the overall result was not high, but a number of lots brought in prices many times their estimates. The first lot of the auction, a 17th-century Italian copy of the Mona Lisa by a follower of Leonardo, sold for E35,415 ($47,100), surpassing the estimate of E15,000/20,000. Highlights of the sale included a pair of Venetian oils on panel, Sainte Lucie and Sainte Apolline, 15th century, which sold for E13,338 ($18,025) on a E2,000/3,000 estimate. A 17th-century oil on panel of the Virgin and infant Christ with Saint Catherine of Alexan­dria and Saint John the Baptist brought E7,906 ($10,514) on a E1,500/2,000 estimate. Allégorie de l’été: les moissons Cuivre, a painting by Marten Ryckeart (1587–1631), sold for E32,937 ($43,800) on an E18,000/25,000 estimate. Nature morte aux faïences de l’Est et à la tourte, a canvas by Claude Joseph Fraichot, sold for E19,126 ($25,440) on an E8,000/10,000 estimate.

    In a sale of Old Master and 19th-century drawings on March 24 at Artcurial Briest-Poulain-F. Tajan in Paris, several lots brought prices far above estimates, in particular a number of works by Théodore Géricault. One, a two-sided drawing with several equestrian studies, ca. 1814, sold for E120,450 ($162,600) on a E50,000/60,000 estimate; another drawing sold for E96,450 ($128,300) on a E50,000/60,000 estimate. Yet another, also with several sketches of horses in pencil, sold for E70,050 ($93,200), within the E60,000/80,000 estimate. Croupe de cheval à l’écurie, a small Géricault watercolor and gouache drawing, ca. 1820–21, sold for E198,810 ($264,420), more than double the estimate of E60,000/80,000. In another surprise, a drawing of the Holy Family in black pencil and brown wash from the school of Giorgio Vasari sold for E43,910 ($58,400), shattering the estimate of E1,200/1,500.

    Goélette mixte au crépuscule, ca. 1860, an ink, pencil and gouache drawing by Victor Hugo, sold for E81,086 ($107,850), twice its E30,000/40,000 estimate. A two-sided pencil drawing, ca. 1860, by Edgar Degas sold for E31,518 ($41,920), at the top of its E25,000/30,000 estimate. Exercice de Franconie no. 1 and Exercice de Franconie no. 2, a pair of watercolor and gouache drawings by Carle Vernet (1758–1836) sold for E25,322 ($33,678) on a E12,000/15,000 estimate.

    Two albums also found buyers at top prices. One, of 347 drawings by George Hayter from the artist’s first grand tour of Italy in 1816–1818, brought E24,083 ($32,030) on a E20,000/30,000 estimate. Another, bound in red leather and containing 81 delicate drawings of flowers in pencil, black ink and watercolor on vellum and paper, mainly attributed to Ida Egger and E. de Lenmick, sold for E96,450 ($128,300), within the estimate of E80,000/120,000.