30 mars 2008

Auction tracking, March 30, 2008


A very lively small-size painting by Watteau, entitled "Surprise", is estimated 3 M£ at Christie's who puts it on sale on July 8 in London. It is unprecedented in the market, and its owner was unaware of its historical and monetary value. (SOLD 12.3 M£ including fees).

On May 13, Christie's manages its great spring sale of Modern Art in New York, including Rothko, (SOLD 50 M$), Francis, (SOLD 5.2 M$), Gottlieb, (SOLD 6.5 M$), Bacon (SOLD 28 M$) and Warhol. (SOLD 32.5 M$). The sudden arrival of a painting of Gottlieb at this elite level has been commented on Art Enchères Culture (Viadeo).
(These prices include fees).

The Bacon triptychs are decidedly "accrued": now another monumental one (three paintings by 198 x 147.5 cm each), at Sotheby's in New York on May 14, for about 70 M$. Dating back to 1976, we are told that it is the best summary of the formal research and the personal tragedy of the artist. (SOLD 86 M$).
On the same day and the next day there are major pieces of a very large collection of modern art coming from Germany, with a blue monochrome by Klein (5 M$), (SOLD 17.5 M$), a monochrome "gold and pink" by the same (6 M$ ), (SOLD 23.5 M$), an achrome by Manzoni (4.5 M$) (SOLD 10 M$) and, among other classics, a Love by Indiana (2.5 M$) (SOLD 2.8 M$) and a Great American Nude of Wesselman (6 M$). (SOLD 10.5 M$).
(These prices include fees).

A painting by Kuindzhi of a Russian landscape with sheep (and cattle), a sort of subject loved by Boudin, is estimated at 200 K€ by Aguttes at Drouot on March 31 (Lot 185, 57x91 cm). This painting, mentioned in the article on the group of the Wanderers on Art Enchères Culture (Viadeo) on March 24, received a more significant development by Anne Foster in La Gazette de l' Hotel Drouot of March 28, page 35. (SOLD 200 K€ before fees).
In the same sale, the Russian gouache showing Napoleon and his troops in Moscow, mentioned in this column on March 9, is estimated 15 K € (Lot 167). It is perhaps too large (111x295 cm) to be able to sell easily. (SOLD 36 K€ including fees).

Two weeks ago, I quoted Vibert at Christie's. I did not know of this French artist until that article, however it is literally pulling as it is also at Sotheby's in New York on April 18 for a scene of Gulliver, for 500 K$. (SOLD 1.5 M$). In the same sale, other French really seem like Bouguereau unsaleable in France. They apply here 1.2 and 1 million $. (SOLD the four major paintings 2.05 M$, 1.7 M$, 900 K$ and 710 K$). Two paintings by Victorian time artist Alma-Tadema are worth 700 K$ each. (SOLD one of them 970 K$, the other UNSOLD). A view of the banks of the Tiber by Corot, for 400 K$, is interesting because it is positioned early in the artist's work (1826). (UNSOLD). A sympathetic drawing of two working farmers by Millet is worth 80 K$. (SOLD 193 K$).
On the same day, among Orientalist painters, a scene of a mosque by Gérome is expected at 1.8 M$. (SOLD 1.95 M$). The animated scenes painted by Walter Gould and Rudolf Ernst are worth 800 K$ (SOLD 1.2 M$ for Gould) and 650 K $. (SOLD 1.27 M$ for Ernst).
Results include fees.

The Greek modern art is characterized by its genre scenes and portraits of character. In the sale of Bonhams in London on May 20, there are scenes by Ralli (Lot 36, 60x93 cm, 250 K£) (SOLD 600 K£) and Pantazis (Lot 37, 113x71 cm, 250 K£), (SOLD 300 K£), a reading girl by Jakobides (Lot 22, 53x40 cm, 100 K£) (SOLD 150 K£) and a bearded man by Gysis (Lot 35, 46x39 cm, 80 K£). (SOLD 90 K£). In contemporary art, there is a painting by Fassianos (Lot 143, 200x251 cm, 100 K£). (SOLD 100 K£). Ralli and Fassianos currently see their ratings go up. (Results before fees).

Gene Shapiro Auctions in New York makes its inaugural sale of Russian art on April 17. This house, which does not disdain the art of Western Europe, can capture the market for Russian and Ukrainian emigrant art in America. It presents a 120 K$ Semyon Faibisovich acrylic prepared for a cover of Time magazine (Lot 219, 127x97 cm). It represents Gorbachev in character card to play, as a star king. (SOLD 144 K$, probably before fees).

There will be a strong presence of art in Parisian sales for the next few days, in coordination with the exhibition Art Paris (at the Grand Palais from 3 to 7 April), and then the Salon du Dessin (at the Palais de la Bourse from 9 to 13 April).
One example among many others: an abstract painting by Kazuo Shiraga is estimated at 220 K€ by Lombrail-Teucquam at Drouot on April 14 (lot 52, 131x195 cm). (SOLD 290 K€ before fees).

For more than 20 years, Versailles Auctions (Perrin Royère Lajeunesse) is a leading specialist in modern French art. In the edition of April 13, we have in order of decreasing estimates: A Peinture by Soulages (Lot 96, 72x65 cm, 500 K€), (SOLD 610 K€ before fees), a painting by Vieira da Silva (Lot 83, 73x92 cm, 300 K€), (SOLD 275 K€ before fees), a calcined cello by Arman (Lot 188, 300 K €). (SOLD 288 K€ before fees). In the drawings, I retain a charcoal by Szafran showing a staircase (Lot 164, 78x58 cm, 120 K €). (SOLD 168 K€ before fees).

6 million $, that is the price that must be put in New York at Sotheby's on May 22 hoped to leave with a painting representing a kind of paradise with peaceful animals by Edward Hicks of Pennsylvania. Come on, I am not afraid to get into a bold prediction: the buyer will be American. It's sad as a Rousseau would have been if devoid of humor, which was not the case, much fortunately, of my compatriot. (SOLD 9.7 M$ including fees).


Sotheby's New York ad for May 1 and 2 a Madonna by Munch (600 K$), (SOLD 680 K$ including fees) (SOLD 890 K$ including fees : Angst, by Munch) and a portrait of Mary Cassatt by Degas (400 K$), (SOLD 421 K$ including fees), afterwards on May 9 a Cranach inspired woman by Picasso (275 K$) (SOLD 660 K$ including fees) and on May 15, in the sale of Modern Art, a set of 18 lithographs of Barnett Newman (1.8 M$). (SOLD 2 M$ including fees).
And again, in the first of these sales, a complete Campbell's Soup I by Warhol (250 K$). (SOLD 280 K$ including fees).


Finally French furniture comes in this column ; for three months ago I was looking everywhere for that : at Sotheby's Paris on April 9, there will be two flat Louis XV bureaus stamped by Dubois, one lacquered (Lot 141, 700 K €), (UNSOLD), another in marquetery (Lot 107, 400 K €), (SOLD 400 K€ before fees), a Transition bergère stamped by Tilliard (Lot 158, 350 K €), (UNSOLD), a Louis XVI bonheur-du-jour stamped by Carlin (Lot 120, 250 K €) (SOLD 384 K€ including fees) and a pair of celadon Kangxi vases mounted in Louis XV bronze (Lot 98, 800 K €). (SOLD 2 M€ before fees).


Declaring Paris to refocus on its sales of silverware in continental Europe, Sotheby's offer on April 10 a silver-gilt casket by Valadier in the busy decorating (300 K€) (SOLD 320 K€ before fees) and an agate bowl silver and silver-gilt mounted by Falize (120 K €). (SOLD 240 K€ before fees).


The sale of RMAuctions in Maranello on May 18 was the subject of a development on Art Enchères Culture (Viadeo), detailing three Ferrari respectively estimated 3.4, 2.5 and 3.4 M€. (the first one, not confirmed ; SOLD the others 2.4 and 7 M€ including fees).

A 1932 Bugatti which raced at Le Mans will be on sale at Bonhams in Monaco on May 10 at € 2 million. (SOLD 1.9 M€ before fees).


A 263-carat opale will be sold in San Francisco by Bonhams and Butterfields on June 22 (150 K$). This is not the biggest opale from the sale, but perhaps the most perfect: to attract fans, the auction house announced that it is shaped like a "fried egg"! ! (SOLD 100 K$ before fees)


The Quillan collection, which will be dispersed in 69 lots by Sotheby's New York on April 7, includes an ancestor, a "photogenic drawing", which I commented at length on Art Enchères Culture (Viadeo). (WITHDRAWN for additional investigation). There is also a truly exceptional set of photos from all times, including a stunning portrait by Strand (Lot 7, 600 K$), (SOLD 645 K$), a remarkable study of Nude by Weston (Lot 19, 600 K$), (SOLD 1.6 M$), a classic but still astonishing lying woman by H.P. Robinson (lot 12, 80 K$), (SOLD 169 K$), not to forget a small "Schadograph" by Schad gone through the Tzara collection (Lot 13, 200 K$), (SOLD 181 K$), a close-up of a doll by Bellmer (Lot 15, $ 200 K ), (SOLD 325 K$), an almost abstract Modotti at 150 K$ (Lot 17), (SOLD 145 K$), a young girl by Lewis Carroll at 80 K$ (Lot 23) (SOLD 133 K$) and a simple still life by Kertesz at 150 K $ (Lot 46). (SOLD 121 K$).
Results include fees.


The sale by Heritage Auctions in Dallas on April 5 has been the subject of a development on Art Enchères Culture (Viadeo), listing Jimi Hendrix, (SOLD 21.5 K$ a pair of boots), the Beatles, (SOLD 60 K$ an autograph), James Dean, (SOLD 54 K$ his lucky watch and 24 K$ a race registration), Hugh Hefner (?) and an oscar. (SOLD 65 K$). These prices include fees.

On April 24 in New York, Sotheby's and SCP Auctions bring their forces together to send a baseball bat of 1917-21 to 200 K$, (SOLD 300 K$ including fees), and jerseys of Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig respectively at 250 and 150 K $. (both UNSOLD). In case you do not know (what was my case so far) : this auction house, SCP Auctions, has obtained $ 2.8 million from a colored baseball card of Honus Wagner. That was in September 2007.