Highest price for a painting by Georges Mathieu sold in France
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Highest price for a painting by Georges Mathieu sold in France
Georges Mathieu, Exil de Go Daïgo dans l'île d'Oki, 1957, oil on canvas, 181 x 362 cm. Sold €1,182,375 by Maître Catherine Yaiche. Photo: Bonhams.

PARIS.- To the applause in the saleroom, L’Exil de Go Daïgo dans l'île d'Oki (The Exile of Go Daïgo in the Island of Oki), (1957) by Georges Mathieu, achieved top lot in the sale "De l’Avant-Garde à nos jours" at Bonhams Paris (Thursday 9 June). Never seen on the market, nor on French soil, this exceptional three-metre-long painting was sold for €1,182,375, a record in France for a work by the artist). The sale saw lively and engaged bidding throughout, realizing a total €2,347,020 and selling 100% by value.

Giacomo Balsamo, International Director of the Department of Post-War and Contemporary Art, said: "This work of historic provenance was sold for € 1,182,375 with many international bids by telephone and in the saleroom. The sale demonstrates the strength of the market in Europe and particularly in Paris, which knows how to respond to works of exceptional quality and rarity. We are pleased to see very good results achieved by women artists such as Alicia Penalba, Chiharu Shiota, and Joana Vasconcelos."

Exil de Go Daïgo dans l'île d'Oki was created by Georges Mathieu while on a visit to Japan in September 1957. Mathieu met the critic Michel Tapié, and he executed the work in a Tokyo classroom of Sōfū Teshigahara, the founder of the Sogetsu-Ryu school of Ikebana. That same month the Gutai Art Association exhibited it in Tokyo and Osaka. It then entered the collection of Jirō Yoshihara, the founder and ‘father’ of the Gutai movement.

Edouard Lombard, Director of the Georges Mathieu Committee, commented that Exil de Go Daïgo dans l'île d'Oki bears witness to the famous trip of Mathieu to Japan in 1957, as well as to the abstract calligraphy developed by the Master in the 1950s. It also represents a landmark of the historic influence that Mathieu had on the Gutai movement. As Yoshihara declared in the Gutai manifesto: "the greatest respect for Pollock and Mathieu because their works reveal the howl of matter, the screams of pigments and varnishes”.

Robert Combas’s work Louis XI (1989) also received applause when it hammered at €151,575 with bidders responding to the poetry and colours of this painting.

The works by women artists were all well-received at this auction with high bids achieved by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota with a 2010 work Trauma/Alltag sold for €75,975. With her threads, the artist weaves a protective network around a life that has become tiny, in this case a pair of children's shoes. Another artist who uses threads in her work is Joana Vasconcelos. Committed artist and ambassador of the France-Portugal 2022 season, she subverts everyday objects by associating them with Portuguese craftsmanship, in this case ceramic tiles in the tradition of the azulejos that adorn the walls of Lisbon. Love in a Box, shown in several museum exhibitions, achieved €31,875.

Finally, a bronze by Alicia Penalba made €40,695.

Other sale highlights:

• Le torse, a massive bronze by Henri Laurens fetched €126,375 (estimate: €100,000-150,000)

• Tourments d’une fleur, an abstract lyrical 1961 painting by Oscar Gauthier achieved a world record for the artist, selling for €75,975, more than triple its high estimate of €20,000.

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