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Christie's is making a play to continue the chugging market advance of works by Jean Dubuffet. Over the last two years, works sold at auction have achieved the top 6 prices for the artist's work. In fact, 13 of the top 20 prices have been achieved since 2014.
In March, the London sales will feature this work from 1963 that Christie's is touting as a pivot between the Paris Circus series, which attracted the top two prices in 2015 and 2016, and the Hourloupe works that so many recognize as the artist's mature work. Given the spectacular results for the Paris Circus works—both made just under $25m with the top price achieved by the first one to come to market (reportedly sold by Steven Cohen)—Christie's work isn't estimated anywhere near the record price. But if it succeeds, Etre et Paraitre will be the third highest priced work by the artist to be sold publicly.
As compelling as these top prices are, the market action on Dubuffet, as demonstrated in the analysis of November's sales below, is not at the top.
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