Saturday, December 15, 2007

Paris Week - A Major Series of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art Sales

Paris Week - A Major Series of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art Sales

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Man Ray, Portrait of Juliet, 1947, 200 000 -300 000 €. Vendu : 491 250 €. © Sotheby's Images.

PARIS, FRANCE.- Paris Week, the inagural series of events organised this week by Sotheby’s France, has concluded tonight on a high note, with the results of today’s sale of Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art bringing the total for the week to €37,165,325 ($54,477,158), the best result achieved in Paris for a series of sales at Sotheby’s to date.

The two sessions of Contemporary Art achieved a combined total of €25,693,925 ($37,606,399), while today’s session of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Art realised €11,471,400 ($16,870,759). Both of these results represent the highest totals in their respective categories at Sotheby’s Paris since the French auction market was opened in 2001.

Guillaume Cerutti, Président-Directeur Général, Sotheby’s France, commented: “The unprecedented success seen during this week of sales has confirmed Paris as a major selling centre in the international auction market for Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art, just after New York and London. These results confirm the strategic decision taken by Sotheby’s to stage these sales of an international level in Paris, which we intend to build on in the future.”

Andrew Strauss, Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, Sotheby’s Paris, said:“We are delighted with the results of today’s sale, the highest total ever achieved for a sale of Impressionist & Modern Art staged by Sotheby’s France. The sale was well curated, as proven by the prices achieved for works by Picasso, Picabia and Man Ray. Today’s results – especially the record price achieved for the Picasso drawing – deomonstrate that Paris was a good choice as a selling location for works by these artists.”

The week of sales was highlighted by the sale of Francis Bacon’s Seated Woman (Portrait of Muriel Belcher) which last night fetched €13.7 ($20) million – the highest price achieved for any work of art sold at auction in France since 1989. In addition, new auction records were established, six of them artist records, and two records by medium, for artists including Picasso, Christo and Martial Raysse. Further strong prices were achieved by artists such as Man Ray and Francis Picabia.

Highlights in today’s sale included Pablo Picasso’s late work on paper entitled Un matin au harem, dated 1954, which achieved €1,555,450 against a pre-sale estimate of €500,000-700,000 and established an auction record for a Post-War work on paper by the artist. The second highest price achieved in the sale, meanwhile, was Ergo, a 1947 work by Francis Picabia, which sold for €1,376,250 against a pre-sale estimate of €800,000-1,000,000. Man Ray’s portrait of Juliet, the cover lot of the sale, was sold for €491,450 (estimate: €200,000-300,000).

The seller of Seated Woman, Mrs Audrey Irmas, said after last night’s sale: “We are thrilled beyond words by the result achieved for Seated Woman, which has been a prized part of our collection for a number of years. The proceeds from the sale of the painting will be donated to the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Family Foundation and will be used particularly to address women’s causes around the world. In the first year alone, we intend to donate $300,000 each to women’s programmes in Darfur, New Orleans and South Central Los Angeles.”

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