Le Cirque, a rare, complete portfolio of 38 lithographs by the Russian/French artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985) sold for £149,000 at Bonhams
Prints and Multiple Sale in London today (27 June). The auction achieved £1,025,750, with 80% of lots sold by value.
Bonhams Director of Prints, Lucia Tro Santafe said, Le Cirque is one of the finest examples of Chagalls printmaking, and I am not surprised that bidders were so keen to own such a vibrant and colourful collection. This was my first sale since joining Bonhams, and I look forward to building on this success at future Prints and Multiples auctions.
Chagalls fascination with the circus and its performers dates from his childhood in pre-revolutionary Vitebsk (then part of the Russian Empire; now in Belarus). The 38 lithographs that make up Le Cirque are joyous and exuberant. The scenes feature familiar circus characters, from acrobats to bareback riders as well as some less familiar ones, including two-headed beasts and a female performer in a red dress sleeping on top of a lion.
Other highlights included:
Banksys Balloon Girl Screenprint in black and red, 2004, achieved £65,000.
Two works by Andy Warhol, Flowers Screenprint in colours and Volkswagen, from Ads Screenprint in colours, sold above their estimates of £18,000-25,000, at £37,500 and £31,250 respectively.