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Records set for Simon Hantai , Michel Parmentier, Bertrand Lavier, Bernard Frize & Daniel Dezeuze
Michel Parmentier, Peinture no.10. Titled and dated 1965 on the back. Glycero painting on canvas. Estimate: 30,000 – 40,000 EUR. Sold for 96,750 EUR. Photo: Sotheby’s/ArtDigital Studio.

PARIS.- This sale of works by artists who have left their mark on the French contemporary scene over the last forty years closed the ‘French chapter [which] for [Marcel Brient] was the beginning of artistic creation and the opening to artistic creation.’

The sale’s triumphant results echoed the public and media success of the Galerie Charpentier viewing, and proves that the French post-war art scene is fully capable of appealing to international connoisseurs. Sotheby’s €5.1 million ($6.6 million) sale turned the spotlight on this scene, represented by superb works by Simon Hantaï, Michel Parmentier, Bertrand Lavier, Bernard Frize and Daniel Dezeuze and other artists, attracting bidding from around the world.

‘Mission accomplished!’ exclaimed Marcel Brient after the sale. ‘But the fight continues!’

Stefano Moreni, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s France, said: ‘Results this evening underline the pioneering vision of Marcel Brient. It was a tough challenge to attain a new market level for French art from the last four decades – but the market responded!’

The sale’s most eagerly contested work was Etude (1969), a monumental painting by Simon Hantaï and a magnificent example of folded, crumpled canvas saturated with colour before being unfolded again. At €720,750 ($931.404) it set a new world record for the artist (lot 16, estimate €250,000-350,000).

The evening’s second-highest price went to a Joan Mitchell diptych from 1987 that soared past top-estimate to €432,750 ($559.230) (lot 44, est. €120,000-180,000).

Nouveau Réaliste works aroused fierce bidding, with a Martial Raysse treelike sculpture formed by plastic bottles, Arbre (1959-60), selling to a European collector for €216,750 ($280.100) (lot 7, est. €200,000-300,000). A Christo masterpiece in the form of a wrapped up push-chair, Poussette Empaquetée (1962), headed State-side for €144,750 ($187.056) (lot 4, est. €120,000-180,000).

The collection included several abstract works by Michel Parmentier from the mid-1960s, with his Peinture n°10 (1965) setting a new world record for the artist of €96,750 ($125.027) (lot 28, est. €30,000-40,000).

Gilles Aillaud, a member of the Figuration Narrative movement, also caused a surprise as his view of underwater sea-lions, Otaries dans l’Eau (1976), virtually tripled its €35,000 top-estimate on €90,750 ($117.274) (lot 67, est. €25,000-35,000).

* estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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