PARIS—On July 7, Christie’s Paris held a sale of artworks from the collection of U.S.-born dealer Darthea Speyer, a longtime fixture on the Paris art scene who recently closed her gallery, after 42 years. The eclectic offerings, from both Speyer’s gallery and her personal collection, included modern art, sculpture, prints, furniture and decorative arts. The sale brought in a total of €2.7million ($3.3million), against an overall estimate of €800,000/1.2 million. All 427 lots offered found buyers, creating a 100 percent sell-through rate by lot and by value.
The top lot of the sale was Amphore de muse, a bronze conceived by Jean Arp in 1959 and cast in 1961. Estimated at €150,000/200,000, the sculpture sold for €229,000 ($288,590). The second-highest lot was Alberto Giacometti’s patinated bronze “Grande feuille” floor lamp, conceived in 1933–34, which sold for €205,000 ($258,344) against an estimate of €80,000/120,000. An untitled painted wood sculpture by André Cadere (1934–78) fetched €89,800 ($113,167), more than doubling the estimate of E30,000/40,000 and setting an auction record for the artist. A number of works in the sale fetched prices that far surpassed their estimates. Some of the outstanding lots include a Boîte en valise, 1958, by Marcel Duchamp (under the pseudonym Rrose Sélavy), a linen-covered box containing 68 photos, documents, miniatures and reproductions, which sold for €82,600 ($104,094), ten times its estimate of €6,000/8,000.
Another artist record was set for a work by Jacques Zwobada (1900–67), whose bronze sculpture La chevauchée nocturne, 1963, sold for €67,000 ($84,435), more than 15 times its estimate of €3,000/4,000. An undated, untitled abstract oil painting by Cadere sold for €51,400 ($64,775) against an estimate of €3,000/4,000. Falling Warriors, 1962, a painting by Leon Golub (one of the most prominent artists in Speyer’s gallery), nearly tripled its €15,000/20,000 estimate to sell for €56,200 ($70,824). Sabreena, 1971, a painting by Ed Paschke, another artist who showed with the gallery, sold for €49,000 ($61,751) against an estimate of €12,000/18,000.
Prenatal Etat II, 1956, an oil and collage on board by Arp, sold for €34,600 ($43,604) on an estimate of €8,000/12,000, and an untitled 1949 drawing in watercolor and India ink by Joan Miró sold for €32,200 ($40,579), ten times the estimate of €2,000/3,000. Untitled (Fragment), 1970, a plaster sculpture by George Segal of a female nude, sold for an identical price on the same estimate. An untitled 1968 watercolor by Nancy Spero, modestly estimated at €100/150, took €41,800 ($52,677).
In addition to the Alberto Giacometti floor lamp, other decorative objects sold well, including Diego Giacometti’s pair of bronze “Bougeoir” table lamps, designed ca. 1960, which doubled the estimate of €25,000/30,000 to sell for €64,600 ($81,410).