PARIS—On March 23, at Artcurial-Briest-Poulain-F. Tajan in Paris, an auction of works from the School of Paris, 1905–39, yielded a total of €1.4 million ($2 million) and established five world records for the 179 lots on offer, of which 93 percent found buyers. By value the auction was 95 percent sold.
Among the world records were Polish artist Mela Muter’s oil painting Les petites filles, ca. 1913–15 which sold for €112,066 ($159,330), landing within the estimate of €100,000/150,000; another painting by Muter, Portrait de Monsieur Rozycki, 1916, estimated at €40,000/50,000, sold for €47,628 ($67,720).
An oil painting by Ukrainian artist Mané-Katz, Le Mariage, 1957, also set a record when it sold for €155,438 ($220,100), surpassing its estimate of €80,000/100,000; another Mané-Katz oil, entitled Les Étudiants, 1955, achieved €42,671 ($60,670), compared with an estimate of €30,000/40,000.
Numerous works by Polish artist Henri Epstein (1892–1944) sold well, with more than half surpassing estimates. Femme au corsage rose, ca. 1915, set a record for the artist. Estimated at €8,000/10,000, it sold for €25,322 ($36,000).
Two other records were established for figurative paintings: Georg Jerzy Merkel’s painting on wood panel entitled Loth et ses filles, n.d., sold for €16,576 ($23,570), compared with an estimate of €1,500/2,000; and a portrait painting by Simon Mondzain, Homme en bleu, 1919, sold for €27,801 ($39,530) compared with an estimate of €6,000/8,000.
Among other works that achieved solid prices, Moïse Kisling’s Portrait d’une brune, 1930, sold for €87,282 ($124,100) compared with an estimate of €20,000/30,000. A portrait by Ukrainian painter Isaac Ryback (1897–1935), Le marchand de gibier, ca. 1930, tripled its estimate of €10,000/12,000 to sell for €35,230 ($50,000).
Works by Lithuanian artist Pinchus Kremegne (1890–1981) also did well; several surpassed their estimates, including his landscape Paysage à Ceret, ca. 1918, which sold for €11,476 ($16,320) on an estimate of €4,000/5,000.
Works by Russian painter Michel Kikoine (1892–1968) met with success as well: Paysage, ca. 1925–26, fetched €22,840 ($32,475) against an estimate of €10,000/12,000; his portrait Jeune fille aux bas rouges, ca. 1960–61, sold for €30,279 ($43,050), meeting the €25,000/30,000 estimate.
A bronze sculpture by Polish artist Léon Indenbaum (1890–1980), Personnage, n.d., sold for €31,318 ($44,530), compared with an estimate of €3,000/4,000.
A painting by Sigmund Menkes (1896–1986), Femme en rouge, ca. 1925, sold for €21,605 ($30,720), compared with an estimate of €10,000/12,000.
Contemporary Art Beats Expectations
Artcurial’s contemporary and graffiti art sale on March 22, realized €2.2 million ($3.1 million) for 545 lots offered, with a majority surpassing estimates. Of the 412 contemporary works offered, 71 percent were sold and the auction was 86 percent sold by value.
Three artist records were established: an oil by Jules Perahim (1914–2008), Drapeau rigide au couleurs inconnues, ca. 1972–73, sold for E15,301 ($21,700), compared with an estimate of €2,000/3,000; a mixed media on canvas, Pegasus, 1977, by Julio Pomar, sold for €36,475 ($51,730) against an estimate of €4,000/5,000; and a mixed-media work on a sculpted panel by Arthur Luiz Piza, Mosaic N°84, 1962, sold for €52,585 ($74,570) , far above the €2,000/3,000 estimate.
An untitled ink drawing on paper, 1981, by Chinese-born French painter Zao Wou-Ki, sold for €84,804 ($120,260) on an estimate of €50,000/70,000; another work by the same artist, an untitled watercolor, 1983, estimated at €20,000/25,000, sold for €43,910 ($62,270). Serge Poliakoff’s oil on panel Composition abstraite, ca. 1956–7, sold for €87,282 ($123,780), surpassing its estimate of €50,000/70,000.
An acrylic painting by Victor Vasarely, EG-44, 1966–72, surpassed the estimate of €25,000/35,000 to sell for €52,585 ($74,570). One of French artist Raymond Hains’s ripped posters on canvas, an untitled work, 1962, sold for €62,850 ($89,130) against an estimate of €18,000/22,000.
Sculpture too was in robust demand. French artist Arman’s bronze Occultée, 2002, sold for €10,201 ($14,470) doubling its €4,000/5,000 estimate. Cesar’s Compression, 1969, fetched €25,322 ($35,910) against an estimate of €13,000/15,000. And Germaine Richier’s bronze Le Christ Dassy II, Petit, 1950, sold for €52,585 ($74,570) against the estimated €25,000/30,000.
A bluebird in bronze by François Xavier Lalanne Oiseau bleu, 1979, sold for €12,113 ($17,180), surpassing the estimate of €3,000/4,000.
Andy Warhol’s 2 Jefferson Dollars, 1976, with the two bills signed and stamped by the artist, sold for €10,201 ($14,470) against an estimate of €1,500/2,000. Several works by Natalia Dumitresco (1915–97) and Alexandre Istrati (1915–91), sold well, including an oil by Dumitresco, Gris-blanc, 1963, (estimate: €1,200/1,500), which sold for €7,650 ($10,850); and Istrati’s oil Composition bleue, 1953, estimated at €1,500/ 2,000, and sold for €5,865 ($8,320).