Sotheby’s has announced top lots for a new sales series in Paris this October. Works will go up for sale in a new live-streamed evening sale event titled “Modernités/Contemporary”– two back-to-back sales comprising works of European modern and contemporary art. Scheduled to take place on October 21, the event will feature the same televised, remote sale model debuted in the summer auction series.
Sotheby’s European Chairman Helena Newman will lead the Paris modern evening sale portion from London’s ‘control centre’ for the first portion of the Paris auction. As seen in the summer mega-sales, the auctioneer will field bids in concert with remote colleagues in London, Paris, New York and Asia. Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s European Chairman, will then take over for the Sotheby’s fall Contemporary Art Evening auction.
Among the top lots in the Paris modern series are Pierre Soulages’s untitled 1956 painting estimated at €700,000-€1 million ($800,000-$1.2 million), Francis Picabia’s Minos (1929) estimated at €2.8-3.5 million ($3.3 million-$4.1 million), and Yves Tanguy’s Composition Surrealiste (1941) estimated at €1-1.5 million ($1.2 million-$1.8 million). Pablo Picasso’s portrait Tête d’Homme (1940), a work on paper, is another leading lot set to go up for sale with the estimate available upon request. A private collection of 25 modernist lots will highlight the sale with a total value in excess of €10 million ($12 million). Many of the works have never been on the market.
In the contemporary segment, a black and white painting by British artist Bridget Riley completed circa 1960s will go up for sale. The work is estimated at £5.5 million-7.5 million ($7 million-$9.6 million). Sotheby’s expects the work to set a new record for the artist, whose highest auction of €4 million ($4.7 million) was achieved in 2019.
“Paris and London have long reigned as major European hubs for artistic creativity and innovation, just as they continue to be central to the art market.” said Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Chairman for Europe & Auctioneer for Modernités. “This year, as the art world community is not able to congregate in these cities physically, we are uniting the audiences by expanding the livestream model that we pioneered over the summer months in New York and London.”
The sale comes after the houses’s successful London hybrid auction staged in late July, where Sotheby’s sold a $18.8 million Rembrandt. Now, Sotheby’s is looking to further innovate. “Not bound by physical location, we were freed up to think across the region, and the pairing of these two sales made perfect sense as a cohesive and fresh offering to our clients” said Mario Tavella, Président-directeur-général of Sotheby’s France & Chairman for Europe.
According to Sotheby’s, the growth in sales seen in Paris in the past two years made it the ideal site to further expand the new auction model. Last year Sotheby’s saw a record year for their Paris sales, with a total of €355 million, up more than forty percent from 2018.