Dubuffet, Calder, Soulages & Zao Wou-Ki Lead Paris Contemporary Auction

Jean Dubuffet La Chaise
Launch Slideshow

Important works by artists spanning the post-war and contemporary eras will be offered for sale in the upcoming Art Contemporain Evening Sale on 5 June in Paris. Click through to see highlights of work by Pierre Soulages, Nicolas de Staël, Jean Dubuffet and a series of paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, including a 1967 work from the Frick Collection.

Dubuffet, Calder, Soulages & Zao Wou-Ki Lead Paris Contemporary Auction

  • Pierre Soulages, Peinture 130 x 89 cm, 2 mars 1961.
    Estimate €1,800,000–2,500,000.
    This masterful piece by Pierre Soulages was created at the beginning of the 1960s. It is indicative of the major shift by the artist at the time of his recognition as one of the most important artists of his generation in both Europe and the United-States.
  • Alexander Calder, Sans Titre, 1958. Estimate €1,000,000–1,500,000.
    Mobile is a prime example of Calder original work as it commands the structuring elements of the space it is placed in, while also masterfully adapting to them and evolving under the influence of air and light to point of becoming polymorphic.

    With multiple rods spanning over 1.4 metres, bearing at their ends a dozen geometric satellites in the vivid primary colors that characterise the artist’s color palette, the mobile captures Calder’s full creative and visionary thinking is a synthetic and masterful way.
  • Zao Wou-Ki, Temps Calme, 1957. Estimate €1,500,000–2,000,000.
    Undeniably one of the most magical and enigmatic painting ever made by Zao Wou-Ki, an artist unanimously considered as one of the most important painters of the 20th century, Temps Calme is indicative of the major and fruitful shift taken by the artist between 1953 and 1957, from figuration to abstraction.
  • Hans Hartung, T1949-6, 1949. Estimate €1,200,000–1,800,000.
    An emblematic work from the most important creative period of Hans Hartung, an artist viewed as one of the fathers of abstraction and considered by many as the inventor of gestural painting years before Pollock or de Kooning. T1949-6 is a masterpiece of the post-war period, and draws its incredible power from the architectonic web of black lines that freely unfurl from the center of the composition creating an extreme spatial tension.

  • Jean Dubuffet, La Chaise, 1964. Estimate €1,700,000–2,000,000.
    La Chaise is a symbolic work of Jean Dubuffet’s most expansive series but also one of the most important to the artist who chose to present it as a star painting in the exhibit L’Hourloupe di Jean Dubuffet which took place in the 1964 Venice Biennale.

    Through this outstanding interpretation of an ordinary, domestic subject – a chair – Dubuffet illustrates his virtuosity by inventing a descriptive, and graphic vocabulary.
  • On Kawara, Nov.21, 1991, Nov.21, 1991. Estimate €400,000–600,000.
    One of the main protagonists of the conceptual art movement, On Kawara is undoubtedly one of the most radical artists and innovators of his generation.
    On Kawara spent the beginning of his career creating compositions one could call graphic, figurative and inspired by surrealist aesthetics, but shifted to a biographical work reflecting on time and space in the 60s.

    From the very first painting of this series On Kawara elaborated a rigorous protocol he obsessively followed for nearly 50 years: a dark monochromatic background in the center of which was written the immaculate white date of the creation of the work in the official language of the country he was in. The two works presented here were made on the same day.
  • Serge Poliakoff, Composition Abstraite, 1967. Estimate €400,000–600,000.
    With its expressive, colorful and vibrant palette, its impressive dimensions and its dynamic yet perfectly balanced composition, Composition Abstraite is undoubtedly one of Serge Poliakoff's most accomplished paintings from the 60s, a decade that consecrated the artist as one of the champions of the New School of Paris as well as post-war international abstraction.

    As he stopped using industrial paint, the painter started grinding his own pigments, experimenting with solvents and mediums to reach the outstanding textural effects that characterize Composition Abstraite.
  • Germaine Richier, La Sauterelle, moyenne, 1959. Estimate €100,000–150,000.
    Considered a guardian of modern art history, Germaine Richier remains unclassifiable. Trained in sculpture by Bourdelle using live models, her work took on an anthropomorphic turn after the war. Although the human body remained a central theme, it took on an allegoric and fantastic dimension, as is visible in La Sauterelle, which tormented aspect reveals a dramatic dimension of existentialist nature.

    Charged with a primitive force that, as worded by André Pieyre de Mandiargues, evokes a “rock or stump as well as a skinned figure”, La Sauterelle is undoubtedly one of the artist’s masterpieces that brought sculpture toward an unprecedented expressive and baroque naturalism.
  • Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Le 12 août, 1965. Estimate €300,000–500,000.
    Le 12 août is an emotive and highly thoughtful painting by Maria Helena Veira da Silva. She is known for pursuing her own practice within the history of modern art; influenced less by her famed contemporaries and more by a diverse range of subjects such as Portuguese mosaics and the urban grids of the numerous cities in which she lived. She also took influence from the exploration of perspective by the Old Master painters, eventually concluding that the alteration of space changes gradually throughout the history of art and that modern art could be explained by this concept.
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