ARTnewsletter Archive

Surprising Prices Mark End-of-Year Auctions in Paris

Several December auctions at Drouot in Paris that were otherwise quiet included some unexpected results.

PARIS—Several December auctions at Drouot in Paris that were otherwise quiet included some unexpected results.

On Dec. 13, an auction by Cornette de Saint Cyr featured work by American artist Elaine Sturtevant, whose work is closely linked with Pop art and New Realism but is often controversial because she copies the work of her contemporaries such as Andy Warhol or Jasper Johns. Sturtevant’s 1969 work Peinture à haute tension (d’après Martial Raysse) (High Voltage Painting), a copy of a work by Martial Raysse, a bright-orange-colored portrait of a woman in acrylic with neon tubing, sold for €161,000 ($213,494), well over the estimate of €40,000/60,000.

And Paysage international, lieu du crime n°7 (International Landscape, Crime Scene No. 7), 1997, an acrylic painting by Chinese painter Yan Pei Ming, who lives in France, sold for €143,750 ($190,100), besting the estimate of €80,000/100,000.

Other copies of artists’ works also brought excellent results on Dec. 17 in an auction held by Millon & Associates entitled Pour le plaisir (For the Pleasure) that offered works from the collection of the art dealer Jean-Claude Bellier. One of the highlights was the sale of an ensemble of 26 drawings by the Japanese artist Leonard Tsuguoharu Foujita, from the collection of Youki, his muse. The drawings are in pencil, gouache and watercolor and each is entitled À la manière de____ (In the Style of ____); they are deliberately done in the style of such artists as Henri Matisse, Auguste Renoir, Kees Van Dongen, Andre Derain, Rembrandt, Fernand Léger, Raoul Dufy, and Maurice de Vlaminck fetched €117,000 ($154,716).

Strong showings elsewhere included an auction held by Audap-Mirabaud on Dec. 15, in which Cabanes au bord du Loing (Cabins along the Loing), an 1896 painting by Alfred Sisley, sold for €459,000 ($615,464) against an estimate of €250,000/300,000. An oil painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Une plage en Normandie (A Beach in Normandie), ca. 1872–74, sold for €71,920 ($96,436) against an estimate of €35,000/50,000; a 1920 painting of the circus, Le Cirque, by Marie Laurencin, sold for €108,060 ($144,895), within the estimate of €90,000/120,000. A record was also set for Henri Mauperche, whose 1665 painting of a biblical scene, Paysage avec la fuite en Egypte (Landscape with the Flight into Egypt), sold for €223,200 ($299,419), well above the estimate of €20,000/30,000.

On Dec. 13 at Camard & Associates, an unsigned and unfinished painting by Honoré Daumier, L’artiste en face de son œuvre (The Artist in Front of His Work), ca. 1863–67, fetched €1 million ($1.3 million), against an estimate of €250,000/350,000. On Dec. 8, at Thierry de Maigret, an 1848 painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, L’Arétin et l’envoyé de Charles Quint (Aretino and the Envoy of Charles V), beat its estimate of €300,000/500,000, to sell for €546,876 ($729,035).

Outside Drouot, another outstanding result occurred at Étude Tajan on Dec. 15, when Cariatide (Caryatid), a watercolor-and-pencil drawing by Amedeo Modigliani estimated at €30,000/50,000, sold for €335,302 ($449,600).