PARIS—On April 2 at Drouot Richelieu in Paris, auctioneer Claude Aguttes organized a sale of modern art featuring an important ensemble of 20th-century European and Russian art.
The top lot of the sale was Les deux amies V, ca. 1974, an oil on canvas by Tamara de Lempicka (1898–1980) of two female nudes. The painting sold for E434,248 ($586,234) against an estimate of E250,000/300,000. Turkish Delight, 1974, a painted metal stabile by Alexander Calder, sold for E322,730 ($435,685), at the top of its estimate of E250,000/300,000. Calder’s Fleurs croisées, 1968, a gouache on paper of flowers estimated at E20,000/25,000, sold for E27,181 ($36,700). A bronze elephant by Rembrandt Bugatti (1885–1916) sold for E124,458 ($168,018), more than double its estimate of E45,000/50,000. Le cirque, 1930, an oil painting by Mariano Andreu (1888–1977), brought E117,023 ($157,980) against an estimate of E60,000/80,000. Cérémonie à la Clarté Bretagne, 1928, an oil on canvas by Maurice Denis, sold for E53,824 ($72,600), within its E40,000/60,000 estimate. Poténé, 1967, an oil by Georges Mathieu, sold for E93,478 ($126,200) on a E50,000/70,000 estimate.
On March 31, in an auction of modern art held by Millon, an oil by Camille Corot (1796–1875) depicting a nude in the studio, sold for E289,800 ($391,230) against an unpublished estimate of E100,000/150,000. An oil still life by Chaim Soutine with a glass of wine and oil lamp, ca. 1916, fetched E220,500 ($297,675) on an estimate of E150,000/200,000.
Several works by French Expressionist painter Francis Gruber (1912–48) fetched prices well above their estimates: Mélancolie (Melancholy), 1941, estimated at E8,000/12,000, sold for a hammer price of E40,000 ($54,000); Le poète, hommage à Rimbaud, 1942, an oil made in homage to the poet Arthur Rimbaud estimated at E40,000/50,000, sold for a hammer price of E98,000 ($132,200). Another painting estimated at E6,000/8,000, La tireuse de cartes, 1936, sold for a hammer price of E36,000 ($48,600). Works by Odilon Redon, Raoul Dufy and Georges Rouault also sold well, as did work by Charles Frechon, a French Impressionist painter from the School of Rouen. Sous bois en automne, one of Frechon’s lyrical landscapes, estimated at E4,000/6,000, sold for a hammer price of E38,000 ($51,300).
In a sale of modern and contemporary art held by Ader–David Nordmann the same day, several abstract mixed-media works on canvas by Iranian artist Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (b. 1937), fetched strong prices (all prices given for this sale are hammer). One such work, PER + TAZ, 1971, sold for E49,568 ($66,900) on an estimate of E30,0000/40,000. Another, ESE + FASE, 1970, sold for E43,372 ($58,550) on a E20,000/30,000 estimate, and Composition abstraite, 1967, sold for E44,611 ($60,225) on a E30,000/40,000 estimate.
Several works by Serge Charchoune (1888–1975), a Russian painter who lived in Paris, sold well above estimate: Gondola, 1952, an oil on canvas, sold for E22,000 ($29,700) on an estimate of E4,000/5,000. His oil Cubisme ornemental, 1927, sold for E9,000 ($12,150), triple the estimate of E2,500/3,000. Another Charchoune oil, Joyeux Joyaux, 1937, sold for E8,600 ($11,610), more than four times its estimate of E1,500/2,000; Espagne No. 2, 1953, sold for E8,800 ($11,880) against an identical estimate.
In an auction of modern drawings held on March 26 by Ader-Nordmann, a watercolor and gouache by Fernand Léger, Composition à la roue (projet no. 1), ca. 1923—believed to be a proposal for a poster for French director Abel Gance’s film La roue—sold for E123,920 ($167,290) against an estimate of E100,000/120,000.
Old Master drawings obtained impressive results in a Drouot auction organized by Thierry de Maigret on March 24. Several works by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres from the Marcotte collection far surpassed their high estimates. The first, Portrait de Charles Marie Jean Baptiste Marcotte dit Marcotte d’Argenteuil, 1828, fetched E789,945 ($1.1 million) with premium against an estimate of E300,000/350,000.
The second lot of the sale, Ingres’s Portrait de Madame Charles Marcotte d’Argenteuil, née Louise Becquet de Layens, 1851, was sold for E680,568 ($918,800) against an estimate of E120,000/150,000. And another Ingres drawing, Portrait de Marie Marcotte enfant, 1830, sold for E352,437 ($475,789) against an estimate of E80,000/120,000.
A drawing by Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863), Cavalier arabe sellant son cheval, ca. 1850, sold for E230,907 ($307,100) on an estimate of E200,000/300,000. A drawing by Théodore Géricault, also from the Marcotte collection, La course de chevaux libres à Rome, sold for E182,295 ($246,098) on an estimate of E60,000/80,000. An 1821 Géricault watercolor drawing, Cheval de charbonnier, 1821, sold for a surprising E85,071 ($113,144), nearly 12 times its estimate of E5,000/7,000.