Zao’s ‘Deux Cimes (Two Peaks)’ – estimated to fetch €340,000 at Nagel.

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Its speciality was graphic works by contemporary artists, either as single sheets or in books and magazines. In 1968 Manus Presse also set up a gallery to present and market the publications.

Hänssel and his wife Waltraut worked closely with artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Antonio Saura, Zoran Music and Christo, all of whom are represented in the auction. The sale encompasses about 1000 works of art, many with three-figure estimates.

The catalogue of selected works contains 50 lots, the highest estimated of which is a painting by the Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki (1921-2013), who spent much of his career in France. He settled in Montparnasse where he met Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Henri Michaux and numerous other up and coming artists.

Only a year after his arrival he held his first solo show in the French capital. While visiting Switzerland in 1951 he encountered the paintings of Paul Klee, whose influence can clearly be seen in Zao’s 21in x 2ft 2in (54 x 65cm) painting Deux Cimes (Two Peaks), a mountain landscape with a town peopled by matchstick men.

It was executed in 1952-53 and sold three years later by the Galerie Pierre Loeb in Paris to the American collector Larry Aldrich.

Purchased by Roland and Waltraut Hänssel in 1978, it is now expected to bring €340,000.