PARIS—An auction of Postwar and contemporary art at Espace Tajan in Paris on May 5 brought in a total of €1.3million ($1.7million) for 175 lots, with excellent results for several artists. One of the most surprising sales of the day was an unusual work by Pablo Picasso—a 1964 recto-verso ink drawing depicting the artist’s name in Japanese calligraphy. The drawing sold for €21,454 ($28,594) on an estimate of €6,000/8,000. Several works by French sculptors Arman and César sold, with works by Arman achieving particularly good results. The top-selling of these was the bronze Vertical Orchestra, 1987, which fetched €99,854 ($133,085) on an estimate of €80,000/100,000. One César work, the bronze Château Magique, 1961–82, sold for €36,600 ($48,780), the top of its €30,000/35,000 estimate. An untitled 1959 abstract oil in red, orange and black by the late Moroccan artist Jilali Gharbaoui doubled its estimate of €50,000/60,000 to sell for €122,159 ($162,814).
Works by Serge Poliakoff also did well. His oil on canvas Composition, 1964, sold for €180,402 ($240,440), surpassing its €100,000/150,000 estimate, and a gouache, also titled Composition, 1953, sold for €50,286 ($67,021), at the top of the estimate of €30,000/50,000. Composition, 1964, an abstract painting by Jean-Paul Riopelle, fetched €17,851 ($23,792) on a €10,000/15,000 estimate. French artist François Rouan’s mixed-media Figure de Venise No. VIII, 1998–99, sold for €27,980 ($37,292) on a €25,000/35,000 estimate. Hans Hartung’s T1971–H15, 1971, an abstract acrylic painting in bright yellow, black and dark blue, sold for €126,600 ($168,732), just within its €120,000/180,000 estimate.
Other works that sold include Undetermined Line, 1987, a pastel drawing by Bernar Venet, which sold for €31,698 ($42,247), just within its estimate of €30,000/40,0000; a sculpture by Pietro Consagra, Racconto de Marinaio, 1961, which sold for €65,967 ($87,921); Le Regard, 2002, a bronze by the late Robert Couturier, which fetched €37,894 ($50,505) on an estimate of €30,000/40,000; and Yayoi Kusama’s acrylic painting The Pacific Ocean, 1985, which sold for €41,172 ($54,874) on a €12,000/15,000 estimate.
Tajan’s sale of modern drawings on May 7, which included works by André Masson, Ossip Zadkine, Raoul Dufy, André Lhote and Tsuguharu Foujita, brought in a total of €293,890 ($373,240) for 185 works. Highlights of the auction included a 1914 gouache and charcoal drawing of a bather by Natalia Goncharova, which sold for €37,257 ($49,656), on a €15,000/20,000 estimate.
Nu assis, 1910, a simple pencil drawing of a seated male nude by Amedeo Modigliani, sold for €65,156 ($86,840), just over its €40,000/60,000 estimate. Two works on paper by Fernand Léger did well: a 1951 still life with a pitcher sold for €15,301 ($20,393) on an €8,000/12,000 estimate, and a study for a stained-glass window sold for €17,851 ($23,792), on a €10,000/15,000 estimate.
A gouache and oil pastel portrait, 1926, by Jean Fautrier sold for €11,221 ($14,955) on a €5,000/7,000 estimate. Marc Chagall’s Repos avec âne jaune, ca. 1965, a gouache, oil pastel and ink drawing of a man with a yellow donkey, also sold well, fetching €20,401 ($27,190) against an estimate of €8,000/12,000.