3 févr. 2008

Auction tracking : Burne-Jones, Fontana, young Chinese, French Naïfs, the Manifesto of Surrealism, Tintin and many other things


At Granville Florence Rois auctions on February 10 a pair of 15th century oils having been part of an altarpiece attributed to the Master of the Altar of Maikammer (143x54 cm). (UNSOLD ; estimate was 50 K€).

A monument (in all senses of the term: 24 feet long) of the English art arrives at Sotheby's in London on March 20. This is nothing less than a tapestry of Burne-Jones manufactured by Morris & Co. on the subject of the Holy Grail. It is expected around £ 1M. (UNSOLD)


After citing the major Bacon (SOLD 20 M£) and the Warhol (SOLD 11.4 M£) of the sale at Sotheby's London, Feb. 27, let us mention now a Concetto Spaziale - Fine di Dio by Fontana, 178x123 cm, which is indisputably one of the major pieces of the artist (£ 4 million) (SOLD 10.3 M£). There is also in this sale a Klein, 205x90 cm (£ 1.8 million) (UNSOLD), a Jeff Koons in stainless steel 180 cm tall (£ 1.5 million) (SOLD 3.1 M£), two paintings by Richter, the first showing a candle, 95x90 cm (£ 1.8 million) (SOLD 8 M£), and another abstract, 225x200 cm (£ 1.5 million) (SOLD 4.6 M£). Some works expected above the million £ appear to be expensive, such as a Don Quixote by Polke, 80x60 cm, 1.2 million pounds (SOLD 1.05 M£). The Chinese contemporary art is well represented by its currently best known artists: Zhang Xiaogang (SOLD 1.7 and 1.15 M£), Yue Minjun (SOLD 920 K£), Yan Pei Ming.(SOLD 700 K£)
(The above price results include fees)

At Phillips de Pury in London on 28 and 29 February, a Surfing Nurse painted by Prince is estimated 1.5 million pounds, (SOLD 2.1 M£ including fees), a pharmaceutical painting by Hirst also £ 1.5 million. (SOLD 1.75 M£ including fees). In this sale there are several Wang Guangyi including a Great Criticism Disney at K £ 200. (SOLD 230 K£ including fees).

Christie's announced a sale in Hong Kong for May 24 and 25, including a curious painting by Yue Minjun (Big Swans, 10 MHK$), who despite his critics is one of the most eclectic artists of the new generation, (SOLD 19 MHK$ including fees) and large scale work by Zeng Fanzhi (Mask Series, 15 MHK$), where you can find a small air de famille (dare I say!) with the work of Yue. (SOLD 75 MHK$ including fees).

Tajan is the only French auction house holding regular sales of naive art. Next sale on February 14. Masters of this category on the sidelines of the schools whose moment of glory at auction is not yet in sight, or has already passed (in the case of Bauchant): André Bauchant ("concert antique" at 12 K €) (SOLD 10.8 K€ before fees), Camille Bombois (horses at 12 K €) (UNSOLD), Gertrude O'Brady or better : Brady (a "circus" at 12 K €) (UNSOLD), Aristide Caillaud (blue rocks at € 5 K) (UNSOLD). A small still life with vase by Rousseau is estimated 90 K €. (SOLD 78 K€ before fees)


The originality of the form creates the higher prices, particularly for Gallé. We wait with curiosity a vase displaying ancolies flowers that Millon presents in the Gazette de Drouot in advertising its sale of April 4 at Drouot. (not confirmed in catalog).

Since the beginning of the year I have not yet talked about modern carpets. I fill that gap with a wool rugs (376x274 cm) by Mathieu Matégot to be provided by Camard at Drouot on May 28. (SOLD 12 K€ before fees)


Do not miss the exhibition of the Gillot collection at Christie's Paris from February 29 to March 3, before the sale to be held on 4 and 5 March. This very eclectic collection has stayed for a century after the death of the collector. Ranging from ancient times to Art Deco through Islamic art and jewellery of Vever, it is a walk in all civilizations, guided by the tastes of the collector, with the except for the Far East which had been the subject of an initial auction ... in 1904. I made a specific article on an ivory diptych (SOLD 276 K€ including fees), but it is not the highest estimate of this sale, that I intend to review again when the catalogue is available. (see column dated February 17)

On March 4 in Brussels, Pierre Bergé & Associates sells 11,000 pieces of porcelain of Zhangzhou which had vanished into the sinking of a junk in 1608. Polychrome did not survive these four centuries of immersion, so no price is estimated at more than € 1000. (SOLD 3 K€ before fees, a plate from a set of 18).

On April 1, in Amsterdam, in a sale of the collection of the princes of Liechtenstein, Christie's features a pair of floor globes, one terrestrial and one celestial, in excellent condition, by the first Blaeu. The estimate (200 K €) seems low. (SOLD 794 K€ including fees).

The only known manuscript of the Manifesto of Surrealism, in 21 pages, is the most important among nine manuscripts of Breton to be sold by Sotheby's Paris on May 20. Breton has not yet joined Rimbaud and Baudelaire in the top people of literary memorabilia auction, but the estimate given by Sotheby's (300 K €, high estimate 500 K €) is low if it is really unique. (SOLD 1.9 M€ including fees). "Poisson soluble", a 59 page experiment of automatic writing contemporary of the Manifesto, is estimated 200 K €. (SOLD 920 K€ including fees). The source is impeccable: Breton's wife.

A cibachrome by Gursky, 157x316 cm, is estimated £ 800 K in the sale of Sotheby's London on February 27. (SOLD 1.5 M£ including fees). Yellow God, a 60x50 cm photograph by Gilbert and George, is estimated £ 150 K. (SOLD 200 K£ ; another work 640 K£, both including fees)

The original gouache made to cover Tintin en Amérique volume, 23x23 cm, is presented by Artcurial for sale on March 29, an estimated 280 K €. One for the next volume, Les Cigares du Pharaon, had been the subject of a notorious mishandling in the history of auctions of comic books, with a record price that was transformed into unsold nearly 20 years ago at Drouot. It is difficult to estimate its actual price: the Tintinomania has not stopped climbing, and Artcurial announced that there were altogether five direct gouaches of this type made by Hergé. (SOLD 650 K€ before fees).

Just for the pleasure of being among the first to announce: a watch that belonged to James Dean will start bid at 75 K $ on April 5/6 in Dallas by Heritage. (SOLD 54 K$ including fees).