On 10 December 2015, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction in Paris concluded with a total of €25,5 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 post-war 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.”
Appearing at auction for the first time, Jean-Paul Riopelle’s La Forêt was pursued by multiple bidders, driving the sale price to €2 million, establishing a new auction record for the artist (estimate: €900,000-1.2 million). 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 €2.95 million (est. €2.5-3.5 million). Jardin de fouille roucoule, sold to a European Institution for €1.2 million (est. €200 000-300 000).
The artists that contributed to the success of the sale in June 2015 - the evening session of which resulted in a record figure for a contemporary art sale in France - will again be in the spotlight on 9 and 10 December at the Galerie Charpentier. Among other works presented in the sale will be two paintings by Pierre Soulages and Zao Wou-Ki, both from the same European private collection.
With unbridled, harmonious lyricism, 28.10.65 was painted at a key moment of Zao Wou-Ki’s career. Exhibitions of his works have multiplied around the world: periodical exhibitions at the Kootz Gallery in New York and at the Galerie de France in Paris, a retrospective exhibition of his graphic work at Vienna’s Albertina, a retrospective of his painted work in Essen and then Cologne. With 28.10.65, emblematic of his abstraction in the mid-1960s, Zao manages to make the surface vibrate by combining the vigour of the gesture with a minimalist chromatic scale.
Painting 46 x 38 cm by Pierre Soulages, was executed on 14 May 1961 - one of the most sought after years for collectors (1955-1965). It is one of the very few paintings in which the artist uses the colour red (there were about twenty during this decade), giving a unique tension to the composition of the painting.
Both works will be an opportunity to highlight the encounter, in the early 1960s, between these two great masters of abstraction.