PARIS—At Christie’s Paris on May 20, the spring auction of Impressionist and modern art achieved strong results, bringing in a total of €5.7 million ($8.2 million). Of the 138 lots offered, 97 were sold, for a total of 70 percent sold by lot and 75 percent sold by value.
La Porte Dauphine, n.d.,was the auction’s top lot, an oil painting by the Dutch Fauvist Kees van Dongen, the subject of a major retrospective on display at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris. Estimated at €350,000/550,000 the canvas fetched €397,000 ($569,100). Pierre Bonnard’s oil painting Femme nue debout, à la table pliante, a luminous standing nude, ca. 1916, was the sale’s third-highest lot; it brought €337,000 ($483,090) on an estimate of €200,000/300,000.
At €253,000 ($362,676), Paysage, la maison vue de la ferme, a 1915 oil painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, edged out its low estimate of €250,000/350,000. French Cubist painter Jean Metzinger’s still life Coupe de fruits, verre et bouteille, ca. 1918, fetched €181,000 ($259,464), meeting the estimate of €150,000/ 250,000.
Other top sellers included a work by Gustave Caillebotte (currently featured in a show at Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris): Bouquet de chrysanthèmes, ca. 1883–93, sold for €169,000 ($242,262), against an estimate of €150,000/200,000. A 1939 landscape by Chaim Soutine, estimated at €100,000/150,000 fetched €145,000 ($207,765). Gustave Loiseau’s depiction of the Normandy cliffs at Saint-Jouin, painted ca. 1907, sold for better than twice its estimate of €40,000/60,000, bringing €139,000 ($199,168). Loiseau’s 1902 landscape Les prés à Saint-Cyr-du-Vaudreuil, realized €91,000 ($130,390), more than doubling its low estimate of €40,000/60,000.
Claude Monet’s Portrait de Jeanne Serveau, painted in August 1880, swept past its estimate of €180,000/250,000 to bring €385,000 ($551,898). Another Monet work also made the top ten: an extremely rare series of 20 lithographs in color, dated around 1890, depicting some of his best-known images, such as haystacks, woman with a parasol and the Normandy cliffs. Signed individually in pencil by Monet and the French painter and printmaker George-William Thornley and presented in the original printer’s portfolio, they sold for €151,000 ($216,459) against an estimate of €120,000/180,000. Other works on paper included an untitled 1938 gouache by Yves Tanguy, which tripled its low estimate of €30,000/50,000, bringing €97,000 ($138,988); an 1889 pastel by Odilon Redon (the subject of an important show currently on at the Musée d’Orsay), La divinité et le serpent, sold near the low end of the estimate of €70,000/100,000, at €75,400 ($108,038); and a 1970 Pablo Picasso ink drawing, Deux vieilles femmes contemplant l’amour, achieved €55,000 ($78,537) on an estimate of €50,000/70,000.
Auguste Rodin’s watercolor-and-pencil study of a Cambodian dancer, 1906–7, tripled its low estimate (€20,000/30,000), selling for €63,400 ($90,843) And the artist’s bronze sculpture with brown patina, Frère et soeur, conceived ca. 1890–91, was estimated at €80,000/120,000, and sold for €163,000 ($233,661).
Other examples of modern sculpture also achieved solid results. Spanish sculptor Baltasar Lobo’s Pièce d’eau, an abstract bronze with brown patina, conceived by the artist in 1971 and executed in 1972–73, more than doubled its low estimate of €120,000/180,000 to sell for €301,000 ($431,484). Another of his works, entitled Torse, 1971, a unique work in white Carrara marble, fetched €133,000 ($190,571), compared with an estimate of €30,000/50,000.
Camille Claudel’s L’implorante (petit modèle), conceived around 1898 and cast before 1920, a small image in bronze with black patina, sold well above the estimate of €70,000/100,000 for €175,000 ($250,863).
Dubuffet Leads Christie’s Contemporary Sale
Strong prices were also achieved in Christie’s contemporary art auction, held in two sessions on May 30–31. Sales totaled €8.5 million ($12.1 million); 96 of the 136 lots sold, representing 71 percent by lot, or 86 percent in value. The top lot, Jean Dubuffet’s 1961 oil painting L’heure de la hâte, realized €1.3 million ($1.9 million) on an estimate of €900,000/1.2 million. The second- and third-highest lots, respectively, were Frank Stella’s 1963 work in metallic paint on canvas Kingsbury run (small version), which fetched €697,000 ($996,000) against an estimate of €500,000/700,000, and Jean-Paul Riopelle’s 1948 untitled oil on canvas, which sold for €457,000 ($653,000), compared with an estimate of €120,000/180,000. Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s Paysage d’hiver, 1954, brought in €361,000 ($515,870), falling within the estimate of €300,000/400,000.
Kazuo Shiraga’s 1964 oil painting Yabyo-O, 1964, sold for €313,000 ($450,807), compared with an estimate of €120,000/180,000.
Other top lots included Zao Wou-Ki’s 14-2-69, 1969, which sold for €289,000 ($413,000) against an estimate of €150,000/200,000; and Three Legged Kite, 1956, Alexander Calder’s painted sheet metal and wire sculpture, sold for €289,000 ($413,000) on an estimate of €250,000/350,000. Alfonso Ossorio’s oil painting Le guerrier, la colombe et la chouette, fetched €205,000 ($293,000) against an estimate of €30,000/40,000; and 2 trames de tirets 0 90, 1971, an oil by Francois Morellet—currently the subject of an exhibition at the Pompidou Center—also did well, selling for €133,000 ($191,557), nearly doubling its presale estimate of €70,000/90,000.