Following our June auction, which achieved a record result in the category (€28.6 million), Sotheby's Paris Contemporary team concluded the season in style with a record combined total of €51.1 million. This result strengthens our status as market leader in Contemporary Art in France (for the fourth time in five years). Striking proof of this success: four bids over € 1 million, an average hammer price of €627,000, more than 80% of the lots sold and 65% of the lots above their high estimate.
The top lot in this sale was Andy Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen from 1975, which sold for €2,337,500. Purchased in the year of its creation, this acrylic on canvas had never been seen on the market until now. Also on offer was a masterpiece from the Japanese master Kazuo Shiraga, Chishusei Kanchikotsuritsu from 1961. Bidders did not fail to see the importance of this never-before-seen oil on canvas, bidding up to €2,057,500. Finally, another widely coveted artist was Simon Hantaï, whose work Mariale, MB2, from 1960 to 1961, unpublished on the market until now, achieved € 2,001,500, the second highest price worldwide for the artist.
Our upcoming Evening and Day sales on 3 and 4 December will include a selection of works by French and international artists who contributed to the success of the latest Contemporary Art sales in Paris.
One of the highlights of the auction is Simon Hantaï’s dazzling work m.b.2 (Mariale), one of only 27 works from his Mariale series that incorporates – in diverse colours – the folding technique invented by the artist. Following the world record set for the artist in our June sale in Paris, Kazuo Shiraga, the founder of the Gutaï movement, will be represented by a work from 1961, exceptional in both its date and quality. The work, painted a year before Shiraga’s first exhibition outside Japan at the Stadler gallery in Paris and whose title evokes the heroes of Chinese epic poetry, is part of the artist’s most sought-after corpus. With its dynamic colour, Ladies and Gentlemen (Wilhemina Ross) is exemplary of Andy Warhol’s characteristic method of elevating an underground subject to the level of iconic pop. Executed in 1975, this canvas of 127 x 101.5 cm was painted by Warhol from polaroid photos of transvestites posing in his studio.
Executed circa 1947, a yellow, red, white and black mobile by Alexander Calder is a particularly concrete example of what sets the artist apart as one the greatest inventors and enchanters of the 20th century: three dimensional abstraction and moving poetry. François-Xavier Lalanne’s Gorille de sûreté II is one of the most spectacular works from the artist’s fantastic and joyful bestiary where the potential function (the safe) is integrated in the most unusual way.