PARIS—The Paris auction market capped off a strong year with several end-of-year auctions featuring an eclectic mix of objects that brought strong prices and several new records.
An auction at Drouot Richelieu posted solid results. On Dec. 15, a small oil on panel depicting Christ’s Agony in the Garden, from the Italian school of the 19th century in the style of the 15th century, far surpassed its estimate of €1,200/1,500, selling for €356,250 ($463,600). On Dec. 21, also at Drouot, the Beaussant Lefèvre auction house held an auction of modern art, decorative objects and furniture that totaled €1.3 million ($1.7 million).
The auction’s top seller, Auguste Rodin’s charcoal, watercolor and gouache drawing of Prometheus, ca.1875–76, was estimated at €15,000/20,000 and fetched €235,448 ($307,118), setting a record for a drawing by the artist. The drawing is believed to date from the sculptor’s first stay in Italy in 1875, and drawn from a Michelangelo sculpture of Apollo.
At Christie’s France, an African and Oceanic art sale held on Dec. 13 set four records for works from specific regions. The first was for the sale’s top seller, a rare 19th-century sculpture of an open-mouthed lion from the Fon people of Benin. The silver, gold and brass piece was estimated at €200,000/300,000 and sold for €1 million ($1.3 million).
Another record was set when a Northwest Coast Tlingit mask sold for €277,000 ($365,252), against an estimate of €30,000/50,000. Two other records were also established: a Jonyeleni standing female figure from Bamana, Mali, which sold for €229,000 ($301,959) on an estimate of €150,000/200,000; and a New Ireland Malagan mask, which sold for €205,000 ($270.313), compared with an estimate of €50,000/70,000.
The final sale of the year at Sotheby’s Paris on Dec. 15, dedicated to Asian Art, fetched a total of €12.45 million ($16.2 million) against an estimate of €6.5 million/9 million. The top lot was an 18th-century cabinet from the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Made of four, carved-zitan panels of dragons, the piece sold for €2.5 million ($3.3 million) against an estimate of €50,000/70,000. Several other lots sold for outstanding prices, including a 17th-century wood-hinged cabinet. Estimated at €180,000/250,000, the cabinet attained a price of €696,000 ($905,725). Among the most surprising results, a white, Sancai-glazed pottery figure of a caparisoned horse from the Tang dynasty, estimated at €15,000/20,000, fetched €228,750 ($298,000).