For the first time, a trio of auction firms pulled clear of the field in Paris in 2007.
Christie’s, with sales of €186m (£134m), consolidated their lead but dropped seven per cent on 2006, when the €60m Dray Collection of Art Deco and modern art boosted their totals.
The biggest change saw Sotheby’s sales total climb a hefty 92 per cent to €119m (£85.6m), closing the gap on Artcurial, who registered total sales of €125m (£900m), including sales at their subsidiaries in Deauville and Toulouse.
Fuelling Sotheby’s 2007 charge was the €12.2m (£8.8m) taken on December 12 for Francis Bacon’s Seated Woman – reflecting both Sotheby’s new emphasis on Paris as a major auction centre and the recent European Union capping of droit de suite at €12,500, which now makes Paris a less unattractive venue for selling frontline 20th century art.
Tajan’s sales dipped around three per cent to €70m (£50.4m), but Piasa had a good year, with sales up 34 per cent at €48.7m (£35m).
Strong sales of modern and contemporary art helped Cornette de St-Cyr and Millon & Associés enjoy their best-ever years, and Aguttes also posted strong results. Their prestigious André Lefèvre modern art collection on December 21 took just over the top estimate at €17.6m (£12.7m) hammer.
Total sales at the Hôtel Drouot remained stable at around €500m (£360m), although the run-up to Christmas saw a string of strong prices in various fields and, typifying the highly fragmented Paris scene, at a number of different auctioneers.
These included: €660,000 (£496,240) for a Louis XVI Nubienne clock at Delorme – Collin du Bocage (November 23); €282,000 (£212,030) for a pair of Christofle bronze vases at Rieunier (December 3); €250,000 (£187,970) for a gold snuffbox (Paris 1757) at Mathias & Copains (November 28); €220,000 (£165,415) for a 17th century Indian miniature by Ali Raza at Pescheteau-Badin (December 12); €215,000 (£162,880) for a 19th century ebony oratory from Bavaria at Libert (December 14); €170,000 (£128,790) for a 15th century Benedictine antiphonary manuscript at Thierry de Maigret (December 7); €170,000 (£127,820) for a late 17th century Rouen (Louis Poterat) soft-paste porcelain mustard-pot at Ferri (December 12); and €1.1m (£827,070) for Dinet’s 1889 Combat autour d’un Sou at Gros-Delettrez’s €5m Orientalist sale on December 10/11.
Elsewhere, a 6.50ct emerald-cut blue diamond sold for €2.43m (£1.75m) in Rheims on December 8, while sales at Osenat in Fontainebleau rose 46 per cent to €17.3m (£12.4m).
By Simon Hewitt
Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.
Back to top