The full analysis of the Paris Contemporary art sales—including which artists's markets are surging—is available to AMMpro subscribers.
The Paris Contemporary sales are not a major event in the international circuit of art auctions. Even though the sales at Sotheby's and Christie's are conducted in Day and Evening events, the works on offer and artists who predominate are secondary players. This isn't an insult to the French or to Paris. The sales reflect a specific taste and feature the kinds of works that connoisseurs, dealers and other value-seekers are looking for.
Moreover, the current market continues to be more about discovering over-looked historical masters whose work will increase in value as time goes on. For that kind of buying, Paris is a playground of value. This last sales cycle illustrated that vividly. The top lot of the week was a world record price for a 1960s work by Pierre Soulages. The work was owned by Soulages's American dealer Sam Kootz which only added to provenance. the €6.2m price reflected that.
There's more going on these results than a single work with good provenance. Soulages had four of the top ten prices in Paris. Nicolas de Stael had three of the top ten prices. Seven of the top ten lots were sold at prices over the estimate range reflecting strong bidding and persistent competition. Only two works sold within estimates and one lot required a compromise from the consignor to get a transaction.
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