Josh Baer was among the 1200 in the audience at yesterday’s YSL/Bergé sale. Though he was not very impressed with the slow pace of the auctioneer, François de Ricqlès, Baer reports that the Musee D’Orsay exercised its right to pre-empt the sale of one of the Vuillards and an Ensor. He also spotted 2/3 of Giraud, Pissarro, Segalot Partners taking home the record-setting lots, not to mention Daniella Luxembourg underbidding on a Degas, Seurat and the Brancusi.
The Master, Judd Tully, filed his report on ArtInfo. Here are some highlights:
Seven artist records were set, including for the top lot, the beautiful and überdecorative Henri Matisse still life Les coucous, tapis bleu et rose (1911), which sold to New York art adviser Franck Giraud for a roaring €35,905,000 (est. €12–18 million). [ . . . ] Giraud and his partner Philippe Segalot, of the New York dealership Giraud Pisarro Segalot, were not done. The pair did serious damage during the marathon evening, outgunning intense competition for the ultrarare Marcel Duchamp readymade in collaboration with Man Ray, Belle haleine — Eau de violette from 1911, which hit €8,913,000 (est. €1–1.5 million). The work is a brushed glass perfume bottle whose label features an image of Duchamp in drag, with a feathered hat, strand of pearls, and lots of makeup. New York art adviser Andrew Ruth, seated in the immense sky-lit room next to his client, was the lot’s stubborn underbidder. [ . . . ]
(More names and prices after the jump.)
“This is what we were hoping for, that it would not be totally crazy but really sound and measured with lots of activity for great things,” said Giovanna Bertazzoni, head of Impressionist and modern art at Christie’s London. “[The sale] marks the return of collectors, as opposed to people who don’t really know why it’s a great piece in the corpus of the artist’s legacy.” Indeed, the house went into the sale with high hopes that a gonzo result would pry loose other top-tier works from potential sellers for the May sale in New York, despite the gloomy economic climate. It must be very pleased with the outcome. [ . . . ]
Three major Piet Mondrian paintings were on offer, and two went crazy, including the jazzy Composition avec bleue, rouge, jaune et noir from 1922, for which Saint Laurent designed a spectacular dress as a homage in the early 1970s. The canvas fetched a record €21,569,000. But that work paled in quality and connoisseurship to the strikingly minimal Composition avec grille 2, from 1918/42, which sold to Segalot for double its low estimate at €14,401,000 (est. €7–10 million). Buttonholed as he dashed out of the frigid salesroom, Segalot responded, “What can I say? I bought it for a very lucky collector.”
Another record-setter was Giorgio de Chirico’s early and rare Il Ritornante from 1918, featuring a portrait of the artist’s father. The work sold for €11,041,000 (est. €7–10 million), but that result was pre-empted, due to French cultural law, by the Centre Pompidou, which will become its new owner.
The Boom is Back At Least for One Night (ArtInfo)