Sotheby’s final contemporary art sale of the year in Paris offered a series of historic works with outstanding provenance by major artists. Collectors from 20 countries fully recognised the importance of the sale, which was full of rare works that established new benchmark prices for leading artists in French post-war art. The final result of €30,903,250 is Sotheby’s best result in this field in France since 2001. The contemporary art sale totalled €29,049,750, exceeding its presale estimate of €16-23 million, while contemporary artworks from an Italian collection achieved €1,853,500.
Stefano Moreni, Head of the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department says: "With the excellent results obtained these last two days, our contemporary art sale enters the limited worldwide circle of those exceeding €30 million. This evening, we celebrate a victory for French art, which has definitely established itself on the international scene with results at the level of the very top contemporary art sales."
The core of the sale consisted of abstract art from the 1950s to the 1970s, including a powerful painting by Simon Hantaï, and two from Pierre Soulages, masterpieces rarely seen at auction. The highest price of the evening sale went to a monumental canvas by Pierre Soulages, Peinture 162 x 130 cm, 14 décembre 1958, which was eagerly pursued by 14 international bidders, who drove bidding all the way up to €5,220,000 – well above the high estimate. This result rivals the world record for the artist set by Sotheby's in London in June 2013 and is the second highest price for his work.
The second-highest price of the evening sale, m.a.4, the only red Mariale Simon Hantaï ever painted, was contested by five bidders, ultimately selling for €4,432,500, doubling its high estimate. Works from this series rarely come to the market, and of the 27 paintings composing the group, a third already belong to museums. With this result, m.a.4 exceeded the artist's previous world record, obtained for m.a. 5 in December 2013 at Sotheby’s Paris (€2.5 million).
Last June Sotheby’s has confirmed once again its leadership in France for Contemporary Art during the Evening sale. Masterpieces from French artists such Jean Dubuffet, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely or Pierre Soulages achieved exceptional prices.
Sotheby’s Paris will present a selection of highly iconic and historic artworks on 6 and 7 December. Among them are two rare monumental oils painted by Pierre Soulages in 1958, and a prodigious red Mariale realized by Simon Hantaï in 1960. Keep your eyes opened.