NEW YORK—Christie’s sale of Orientalist, modern Arab and Iranian art in Paris last month was less than half sold by lot. Of 120 lots on offer, 56, or 47 percent, found buyers; by value the auction was 58 percent sold. However, most of the top lots cleared their low estimates, which has not been the case in many recent auctions. Demand for the top lots came mostly from European and North African buyers, Christie’s representatives said after the sale.
The top lot of the auction was Les Allamattes, a painting by Jacques Majorelle (1886–1962), which was acquired by a North African collector for €361,000 ($509,010) on a €300,000/500,000 estimate. The second-highest lot was Le guetteur, 1906, an oil by Alphonse Étienne Dinet, which was sold to an anonymous buyer for €253,000 ($356,730), toward the low end of the estimate of €200,000/300,000. Jeunes filles se maquillant, another oil painting by Dinet, was sold for €223,000 ($314,430), just above its estimate of €150,000/200,000 with the buyer’s premium included.
A record was set for a work by French artist Marcelle Ackein (1882–1952) when Laptots dans un port en Guinée was sold for €145,000 ($204,450), well within the estimate of €120,000/180,000. Femmes et enfantes, Guinée, another work by Ackein, cleared its €70,000 low estimate to sell for €73,000 ($102,930) to a North African buyer. Another artist record set in the sale was the €39,400 ($55,554) price paid by a European collector for Gilbert Galland’s Vue d’Istanbul (estimate: €18,000/22,000). Chasseurs au faucon, 1922, an oil painting by Henri Rousseau (1875–1933), was sold for €121,000 ($170,610) on an estimate of €120,000/180,000.