PARIS—At an “Interiors” sale on Sept. 29 at Christie’s Paris, mainly of furniture and decorative art objects, the top prices were paid for modern artworks. Of the 629 lots offered, 435 were sold; total sales were €1.7 million ($2.3 million).
Many paintings in the sale far exceeded their estimates, and many hailed from the collection of the Maurice Lefebvre-Foinet family, which had a renowned Paris shop that supplied brushes, canvases and hand-ground oil paints to artists for generations (the shop closed in the 1990s).
Leon Golub’s Champ de Bataille, ca. 1965, an oil, fetched €44,200 ($60,203), nearly tripling its estimate of €10,000/15,000. A 1956 abstract oil by Danish painter Richard Mortensen, Hommage aux impondérables II, also earned €44,200 ($60,203), more than ten times its low estimate of €4,000/6,000. Also estimated at €4,000/6,000, Mortensen’s painting Hommage aux impondérables I, 1956, sold for €37,000 ($50,397), six times more than expected.
An untitled work by Gordon Onslow-Ford, estimated at €2,000/3,000, sold for €29,800 ($40,590). An unusual work by Paul Jenkins, two abstract oil paintings on canvas recto-verso, Phenomena Spring Alter, 1970, and Phenomena Nightengale, 1962, sold for €28,600 ($38,955), far higher than the estimate of €4,000/6,000.
Jean Fautrier’s untitled 1924 work from the series “Nudes at the Brothel” sold for €18,125 ($24,688) against an estimate of €2,000/3,000. Asger Jorn’s Untitled Modification, 1963 fetched €15,000 ($20,431) on an estimate of €3,000/4,000. An undated oil on paper mounted on canvas entitled Composition by Gordon Onslow-Ford sold for €11,250 ($15,323) on an estimate of €2,000/3,000. Thanos Tsingos’s painting of flowers, Fleurs, 1956, brought €16,250 ($22,134) against an estimate of €4,000/6,000. An untitled work by Victor Vasarely, two preparatory works in collage on paper, fetched €12,500 ($17,026), more than twice the estimate of €4,000/6,000. Dorothea Tanning’s Baptême (Baptism) from 1959–61 fetched €10,625 ($14,472) against an estimate of €1,500/2,000. L’Orage, a 1938 oil by Francis Gruber (1912–48) sold for €9,375 ($12,769) against an estimate of €3,000/5,000.
Several works were dedicated to Lefebvre-Foinet, including a handful by Stanley William Hayter (1901–88), an Englishman who moved to Paris, where he founded an experimental etching workshop. An untitled 1955 oil painting, for instance, dedicated “For Maurice, our friend and protector, son ami Bill Hayter,” sold for €9,375 ($12,769) on an estimate of €4,000/6,000. Several small works by Shirley Jaffe, an American painter based in Paris, were sold, including an ensemble of three small, untitled paintings for €8,750 ($11,918), surpassing their estimate of €5,000/7,000.
Other works in the sale included an untitled Zenith television monitor, 1989, signed Nam June Paik, and estimated at €1,500/2,000. It sold for €5,500 ($7,491). Valerio Adami’s study for L’età eroica sold within its estimate of €10,000/15,000 for €12,500 ($17,026).
The sale also included Poisson fond roux by Pablo Picasso, an oval terra-cotta plate conceived in 1952, estimated at €2,000/3,000, which fetched €4,500 ($6,129). Dora Maar’s oil painting Le Pont, 1944 (estimate: €2,000/3,000), sold for €4,000 ($5,448).