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Sotheby's Paris Sale of Contemporary Art totals $27.9M; Auction records for Riopelle and Reigl
One of the highest totals for a Contemporary Art Sales series at Sotheby’s France. Photo: Sotheby's.

PARIS.- Sotheby’s Contemporary Art in Paris concluded today with a total of €25.5 million / $27.9 million / £18.5 million, one of the company’s highest totals for a Contemporary Art sales series in France.

Stefano Moreni, Head of Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s Paris: “It’s been an outstanding week for Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s in France. The market for works defined by a classical French postwar aesthetic is truly alive and kicking. It was a privilege to offer two masterpieces by Jean Dubuffet, who is scaling new heights at auction, and there was a strong appetite for ‘School of Paris’ artists. Collectors responded to the exceptional quality and freshness of the work we sourced, reflected in the depth of bidding from around the world.”

CONTEMPORARY ART, 9 & 10 December 2015 Sale Total: €25,545,900 / $27,857,548 / £18,523,538

Pre-sale estimate €18.2-26.1m / $19.8-28.4m / £13.2-18.9m (143 lots)
• 83.9% sold by lot
• 90.1% sold by value

CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING SALE, 9 December 2015 Sale Total: €20,637,000 / $22,504,442 / £14,964,055
Pre-sale estimate €14.8-21.3m / $20.4-29.2m / £10.8 – 15.5m (33 lots offered)
• Participants from 20 countries
• 87.9% sold by lot
• Almost 70% of works sold achieved prices above their high estimates
• Over three-quarters of the works offered had never appeared at auction
• Average lot value: €625,323

CONTEMPORARY ART DAY SALE, 10 December 2015 Sale Total: €4,908,900 / $5,353,106 / £3,559,483
Pre-sale estimate €3.4-4.8m / $3.7-5.2m / £2.4-3.5m (110 lots offered)


• Appearing at auction for the first time, Jean-Paul Riopelle’s La Forêt was pursued by multiple bidders, driving the sale price to €2m / $2.2m / £1.48m, establishing a new auction record for the artist (estimate: €900,000-1.2m).
• This seminal example of Riopelle’s most renowned technique – a kaleidoscopic juxtaposition of matt and glossy textures – is comparable with a work held by the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

With prices for Dubuffet at auction reaching a new high this year, the evening sale was led by works from three celebrated series by the artist never previously offered at auction.
• Midi sonne grelot from Dubuffet’s sought-after Paris Circus series sold for €2.95m / $3.2m / £2.1m (est. €2.5-3.5m).
o Painted in 10 June 1961, this work boasted an exceptional provenance, including art dealer and collector Daniel Cordier, one of Dubuffet's earliest supporters.

• Jardin de fouille roucoule, the first and one of the largest gardens from Dubuffet’s Tableaux d’assemblages series – in which the artist initiated a revolutionary technique reminiscent of Matisse’s cut-outs – sold to a European Institution for €1.2m / $1.3m / £872,305 (est. €200,000-300,000).

o The provenance proved attractive to collectors, the work having been held in some of the most prestigious private collections of the 20th century, including William Rubin and Baron Elie de Rothschild.

• Terre mère, or Mother Nature, the largest of Dubuffet’s papier maché Matériologies, made €687,000 / $749,167 / £498,149. o The work formed the centrepiece of this rare series, the culmination of the artist’s experimentation with abstraction.

• The sale saw active bidding from across Asia for works by one of the leading abstract artists of the 20th century, Zao Wou-Ki.
• The most coveted was Zao’s intensely lyrical 7.8.1965, painted at the pinnacle of his career, which sold to a private Asian collector for €2.7m / $3m / £1.97m (est. €1.4-2m).
• There were strong prices for works by Serge Poliakoff, Hans Hartung and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva.

o Poliakoff’s Sans Titre sold for €555,000 / $605,222 / £402,435 (est. €200,000-300,000).

o Two works painted by Vieira da Silva circa 1970 surpassed their estimates: Mars suspendu sold for €543,000 / $592,136 / £393,734 (est. €300,000-400,000) and L’écho realised £387,000 / $422,020 / £280,617 (est. €250,000-350,000).

o Hans Hartung’s T1950-16 sold for €291,000 / $317,333 / £211,006 (est. €180,000250,000).

• A rare work by Pierre Soulages, Peintre 46 x 38 cm, 14 mai 1961, on the market for the first time in 40 years, sold for €843,000 / $919,283 / £611,266, more than double its pre-sale low estimate (€400,000-600,000).
• Francis Bacon’s Untitled (Head of a Woman - Lisa Sainsbury), one of four surviving works from an original series of eight studies, made €843,000 / $919,283 / £611,266 (est. €600,000-800,000). The same work made €418,156 / $540,814 / £337,250 when it was last sold at Sotheby’s, in London in October 2012.
• In the Day sale, Jean Dubuffet’s La Marelle sold to a European Institution for €171,000 / $186,474 / £123,993 (est. €60,000-80,000).

• For Jean-Paul Riopelle (Lot 20) - €2,043,000 / $2,227,871 / £1,481,396
• For Judit Reigl (Lot 105) - €315,000 / $343,504 / £228,409

• For a sculpture by François Morellet (Lot 26) - €291,000 / $317,333 / £211,006

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