Our Natural History sale achieved 1 million euros. Creatures of a bygone era generated the sale’s best results, including the impressive mammoth skull decorated with tusks, which tripled its high estimate to €141,900. A marine reptile, Stenopterygius quadriscissus from the early Jurassic, 190 cm-long and with all four legs still attached to its skeleton, attracted connoisseurs.
The lots with a decorative quality also attracted the interest of many buyers, starting with mineralised or fossilised panels. Beautiful pieces sold greatly above high estimates. A wonderful group of three elegant sea lilies, entwined for 180 million years on a natural canvas, sold for €169,500.
Anyone who has visited Park Güell in Barcelona will certainly have been enthralled by its entrance gate decorated with palm leaves. It would therefore hardly come as a surprise to experience a similar sense of wonder at the fossilised Sabalites sp. palm leaf from our sale of natural artworks on 30 September 2014. What could be more appropriate than to discuss Gaudí and his interpretations of the plant world in order to stimulate conversation among friends except perhaps, for the presence in the sale of a small carnivorous dinosaur which, over and above its extreme rarity, is of such a small size that there is no doubt it will be adopted by all lovers of thrills and originality?
One’s imagination is also struck by two tables with tops made of fossilised wood, mingling celestial canopies and infinite ravines, improbable mountains and oceans of fire, which evoke the equally eternal work of Zao Wou-Ki.
The sale also takes on the form of a record of the inhabitants of the ocean depths, such as number of fossilised fish from Monte Bolca and a splendid mural, nearly two metres in length, composed of an accumulation of scallopshells which displays a style that Arman, the most important French artist of the 20th century, would not deny. Other marvels in this fine auction catalogue, published at the same time as the 2014 Biennale, include a spectacular panel of sea lilies and a flamboyant, almost floral work of pyrites on a lacquered ground in the style of Inagaki.