PARIS— Christie’s Paris, also saw robust results at its December sales, starting with its auction of Impressionist and modern art on Dec. 1, which brought a total of €14.4 million ($19.4 million) compared with an estimate of €14 million/20 million. The auction included works by Francis Picabia, Fernand Léger, Alberto Giacometti, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin and Amedeo Modigliani. Of the 116 lots on offer, 74, or 64 percent, were sold. By value, the sale realized 87.5 percent.
The top-selling work marked a record for Auguste Rodin. L’âge d’airain, a bronze sculpture with black and green patina, conceived ca. 1875–77 and cast in the artist’s lifetime, before 1918. It sold for €4.7 million ($6.3 million), nearly doubling its estimate of €2.5 million/3.5 million.
Several other works also sold for more than €1 million, including Paul Cézanne’s study of bathers, the oil painting Etude de baigneuses, ca. 1902–6, which fetched €2.3 million ($3.1 million), falling within its estimate of €2 million/3 million.
An oil painting on board and mounted on canvas by Chaïm Soutine, L’Arbre de Vence, ca. 1929, sold for €1.3 million ($1.7 million), slightly under the estimate of €1.4 million/1.8 million.
Marc Chagall’s painting of two green donkeys and several floating figures, Deux ânes verts, 1980, fetched €1.2 million ($1.7 million), compared with an estimate of €1 million/1.5 million. Other strong sales in the auction included Oscar Dominguez’s 1935 oil painting Composition au taureau et piano, which surpassed its high estimate of €500,000/700,000 to sell for €841,000 ($1.1 million). Odilon Redon’s pastel portrait of Simone Fayet taking her first communion, 1908, sold near the low end of the €300,000/500,000 estimate for €301,000 ($405,651).
Picabia’s oil and charcoal, Femme aux arbres, ca. 1930, sold for €217,000 ($292,446), within its estimate of €180,000/250,000. And Femme debout, 1892–95, Aristide Maillol’s wooden sculpture of a standing woman, sold for €205,000 ($276,274), twice its low estimate of €100,000/150,000.
Claude Monet’s La Seine à Port-Villez, ca. 1908–9, a small oil painting, sold for €205,000 ($276,274) against an estimate of €60,000/80,000. Rodin’s Man with a Broken Nose sold for €157,000 ($211,585) on an estimate of €150,000/250,000.
Christie’s contemporary sale in Paris was held Dec. 8-9 and brought a total of €11.7 million ($15.7 million), with 68 percent selling by lot and 75 percent by value. Of 132 lots offered, 90 were sold.
The top lot was Ultra-violet, 1984, an acrylic and oil painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, which fetched €1.3 million ($1.7 million), doubling its low estimate of €600,000/800,000. Other top lots included Nicolas De Staël’s abstract landscape Paysage du midi, 1953, an oil painting on panel that sold for €1 million ($1.4 million), also doubling its low estimate of €500/000/700.000. Another top lot by De Staël was his oil painting, Composition, 1950, which sold for €289,000 ($386,393) against an estimate of €150,000/250,000.
Zao Wou-Ki’s oil painting Cîme, 1955–56, doubled its low estimate of €300,000, realizing €661,000 ($883,757), as did Andy Warhol’s portrait of Enrico Carminati Jr., a triptych in synthetic polymer and silkscreen on canvas, which sold for €301,000 ($400,734) on an estimate of €140,000/180,000.
Two works by Serge Poliakoff also brought solid prices: the oil painting Rouge, 1953, sold for €517,000 ($691,229) compared with an estimate of €400,000/600,000; and Composition abstraite, 1954, sold for €313,000 ($418,481), surpassing its estimate of €180,000/250,000.
Works by Louise Bourgeois were also among the sale’s top lots. A sculpture combining steel, rubber, clothing, glass and bones, entitled Seamstress, mistress, distress, stress, 1997, surpassed its estimate of €400,000/600,000 to sell for €505,000 ($675,185).
Frank Stella’s small version of Les Indes galantes, 1964, in fluorescent alkyd paints, sold for €457,000 ($611,009), on an estimate of €400,000/600,000.