PARIS—From Old Masters to contemporary work, drawings were recently celebrated throughout Paris, where the Salon du Dessin, the Old Master drawing fair—now in its twentieth edition—ran from March 30-April 4 at the Palais de la Bourse-Palais Brongniart.
Thierry Normand, director of the Galerie Thierry Normand, Paris, said that drawings sold in a wide range of prices from €7,000/180,000 ($9,800/252,000), including an 1850 drawing by Eugène Delacroix, La Ferme du Château d’Augerville, with an asking price of €25,000 ($35,000). An Edgar Degas drawing, La Femme se coiffant, offered by New York gallery W.M. Brady & Co., sold for €125,000 ($175,000).
Modern and contemporary works were also snatched up, from ink drawings by Henri Michaux for €19,000 ($26,600) at Paul Prouté, to several works at the Galerie de la Présidence, where codirector Florence Chibret-Plaussu reported sales including an abstract watercolor by Jean Helion, priced at €30,000 ($42,000), and a watercolor by Albert Marquet representing Audierne, the French fishing village where he painted, with an asking price of €25,000 ($35,000). Victoire Pourtales, head of the drawings department at Thaddeus Ropac, reported sales including an Antony Gormley drawing, Waterplate II, 2008, in watercolor, sepia ink, coloured pencil and collage on paper for £8,800 ($12,320) and an Andy Warhol drawing, a portrait in ink of Paul Draper, 1952, for $30,000.
Francesca Martelli, sales associate at the Karsten Greve Gallery said: “In general, we’re very pleased to participate in the Salon du Dessin, though the majority of visitors are normally interested in Old Master drawings. This year we received numerous visitors interested in contemporary drawings. We were quite satisfied with the sales.”
These included the series by Louis Bourgeois “Paris toujours Paris,” featuring works priced between €80,000/120,000 ($112,000/168,000), and works by Claire Morgan for prices ranging from €2,000/10,000 ($2,800/14,000).
Robust Bidding at Nearby Auctions
Auctions of Old Master and 19th-century drawings were also held to coincide with the fair. On March 30, a drawing sale at Artcurial Briest-Poulain-F. Tajan achieved a total of €1.5 million ($2.1 million) for 132 lots, with 80 percent of lots sold and a sold-by-value rate of 86 percent. The top lot was a drawing, pencil, stump and white highlights, entitled The Little Sister, ca. 1803-1806 by Louis-Léopold Boilly that surpassed its estimate of €30,0000/40,000, selling for €186,418 ($262,850). Victor Hugo’s pen and ink drawing, Château fantastique, surpassed its estimate of €90,000/120,000, selling for €143,046 ($201,700).
A work in red chalk and white highlights with brown wash by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto (1616-1670), of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, sold for €50,106 ($70,650) compared with an estimate of €30,000/40,000.
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s portrait of the holy family in pen and brown ink, with gray-brown wash, n.d, sold for €62,498 ($88,120) against an estimate of €50,000/60,000. Other highlights included works by Théodore Géricault, including Quatre études d’un naufragé brandissant une hache, in pen and brown ink with black chalk, which sold for €41,432 ($58,420), surpassing its estimate of €12,000/15,000. An 1830, black chalk drawing by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Portrait présumé de la marquise de Beaumont, sold for €74,890 ($105,600), meeting the €60,000/80,000 estimate.
On April 1, Christie’s held a sale of Old Master and 19th-century drawings that totaled €1.8 million ($2.5 million), selling 89 percent by value, with 151 of the 208 lots sold. The top lot was François Boucher’s 1752 Femme dans un parc tournée vers la droite, autrefois dit Madame de Pompadour, estimated at €100,000/150,000 and sold for €325,000 ($460,525). Other top-sellers included Ingres’s Portrait d’homme en buste, tourné vers la gauche, 1814, estimated at €120,000/180,000 and sold for €193,000 ($273,481); Caspar David Friedrich’s Etude de têtes, figures et feuillages, 1802, which sold for €82,600 ($117,044) on an estimate of €25,000/35,000; Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s Etude d’arbre près d’un torrent en Italie, estimated at €30,000/40,000, which sold for €79,000 ($111,943); and Portrait d’Alexandre Brongniart, enfant by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, which more than doubled its low estimate of €20,000/30,000, selling for €51,400 ($72,834).