On April 14, Christie’s, Paris, presented their Oeuvres modernes sur papier / Art Impressionniste et Moderne sale that included a wide range of work from the 19th and 20th centuries. While there was very little that interested us, it is obvious many others were very interested – the results for several works really surprised me. (w/p = with the buyer’s premium).
The top lot in this sale was a Cubistic work by the Russian born Marie Vassileff’s titled Nu. The painting carried a €250-350K estimate and sold for €550K/$659K (€680K/$814K w/p). In a close second was Robert Delaunay’s Manège de cochons; a work on paper that was estimated at €500-800K and sold for €500K/$599K (€620K/$742K w/p – this same work sold back in 2017 for $450K – so the seller walked away with a little extra money). Pierre Bonnard’s small gouache Femme à sa toilette took the third spot when it sold for €360K/$431K (€450K/$539K w/p – est. €150-250K — it was last on the market in the 1930s, so we can call that one fresh).
Rounding out the top five at €300K/$359K (€375/$449K – actually, the top six) were Degas’s Danseuses en maillot, au repos (est. €300-500K), Dufy’s Nu dans l’atelier de la place Arago à Perpignan (est. €120-180K), and Félix Vallotton’s Chemin de la Croix-Rouge (est. €250-350K).
I mentioned earlier that some of the sold works left me wondering why they generated so much interest. Perhaps the most puzzling was a pastel landscape measuring about 6.5 x 12.5 inches by Degas. The work had, what I thought was, a hefty estimate of €60-80K, and it sold for €140K/$168K (€175K/$210K w/p) — can anyone explain why it made so much (I am always interested in learning)?
The sale also had 38 works that went unsold; these included pieces by Severini (€300-500K), Bonnard (€190-270K), Claus (€180-250K), Miro (€120-180K), Dufy (€80-120K), Renoir (€60-80K), Appel (€60-80K), Luce (€45-65k), Vuillard (€40-60K), and Pascin (€30-50K).
Of the 154 lots offered, 116 found buyers (75.3% sell-through rate), and the total achieved was €8.296M/$9.9M (€10.35M/$12.4M w/p). The low end of their presale estimate range was €8.28M, so they just squeaked past it even without the buyer’s premiums.
Digging deeper, we discover that of the sold works, 18 were below, 56 within, and 42 above their estimate ranges. When we add in the 38 unsold works, their accuracy rate was 36.4% — which is one of the better results.