PARIS - In a packed saleroom Sotheby’s Paris Evening Auction of Contemporary Art soared above estimate to bring a total of ˆ11, 282,250/$ 15,098,358 (est. ˆ 6,600,000- 9,370,000/ $ 8,832,384 / 12,539,309). There was competitive bidding throughout; all of the lots found buyers and three-quarters of the lots sold above their high estimates.
Commenting on his first evening sale as Director of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department in Paris, Stefano Moreni said: “Our presale strategy of sourcing works of high quality and distinguished provenance attracted collectors from all around the world and brought in many new buyers. Five of the ten top works were competed for by multiple bidders and achieved prices which doubled their high pre-sale estimates.”
There was strong competition for an iconic work from a key period of Pierre Soulages’ career, Peinture 195 x 130cm – 3 December 1956, a monumental work from the artist’s Polyptiques Latents which sold for ˆ1,576,750/$2,110,070, well-above its pre-sale high estimate of ˆ800,000-1,200,000 / $1,110,000-1,660,000.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s MP, a monumental self-portrait-like figure painted in 1984, which had been off the market for over 25 years, commanded ˆ1,296,750 /$1,735,363, exceeding its pre-sale estimate of ˆ700,000-900,000/ $965,000-1,250,000.
A work of the utmost rarity by Yves Klein, COS31, nearly doubled its low pre-sale of ˆ500,000-700,000 / $690,000-965,000 to achieve ˆ983,150/$1,315,691. Produced in May 1960 – the same year as the Nouveaux Réalisme manifesto and the patenting of International Klein Blue (IKB), the work combines cosmogony (natural imprint of reeds) and anthropometry (female body print).
A further work by Pierre Soulages, Peinture 162 x 130cm – 13 November 1969, brought ˆ840,750/ $ 1,125,125 (est. ˆ400,000-600,000 / $555,000-830,000).
A top lot of the evening was Chu Teh-Chun's Sombres Nuées (1998/9), a monumental, incandescent work which fetched ˆ744,750/ $996,654 (est. ˆ400,000-600,000 / $555,000-830,000); while his Hivernal (1985), from his sought-after Snow cycle, realized ˆ276,750/$370,358 (est. ˆ120,000-180,000 / $166,000-249,000).
Martial Raysse's Espace Zéro, realized ˆ480,750/ $643,359, against a pre-sale estimate of ˆ300,000-400,000 / $414,000-555,000. With its fluorescent colours and red neon light, this work is an icon of Pop Art.
Tony Cragg’s Early Forms more than doubled the high estimate, and fetched ˆ216,750/$290,064 (est. ˆ60,000-80,000/ $83,000-111,000).
Zao Wou-Ki’s 12.12.67, a superb example of the imaginary and highly poetic landscapes he pioneered and perfected, sold for ˆ432,750/$579,123, against a pre-sale estimate of ˆ300,000-400,000 / $414,000-555,000.
Huang Yong Ping's Walking Up Language: a huge pair of Dadaist ceramic sculptures sold for ˆ216,750/$290,064, well above its pre-sale estimate of ˆ150,000-200,000 / $207,000-276,000.