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It posted a total of €136.6m (£118.7m). This figure, which includes premiums and aftersales but not private sales, is a 21.6% increase over the €112m equivalent period last year.

Its tally from the 19 sales, half a dozen of which were single-owner collections, included 21 items making over €1m and nine pre-emptions by major French institutions.

According to François de Ricqlès, president of Christie’s France: “Private collections were a strong point of this semester as shown by the sales of the collections of Hubert de Givenchy, during which we set a record for a work by Diego Giacometti in France, and of Boniface de Castellane and Anna Gould, where a work by Guardi obtained the highest price for an item sold in France during this period [€6.74m/£5.85m inc premium].”

As well as the Guardi, seven of Christie’s remaining top 10 prices were for works of art by Giacometti from that Hubert de Givenchy auction in March.

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Alexandre Giquello, who took over as the president of Drouot’s administration on June 22. Born in 1970, he has been an auctioneer since 2002 at the firm of Binoche et Giquello. Photo copyright: Marie-Pierre Moinet – Juillet 2014.

Automobile support

Sotheby’s chalked up €96m/£83.5m (including premium and aftersales but not private sales) for the 15 auctions held at its Galerie Charpentier in Paris during the first half of 2017.

This was down on the €107m for the equivalent period last year, although if the Sotheby’s RM automobile sale is included that figure rises to €123.6m/£107.4m.

Individual highs included the €1.5m/£1.3m (inc premium) paid on June 22 for an imperial jade sceptre, the highest price obtained to date this year in France for an Asian work of art.

French auction company Artcurial recorded €93.1m/£80.9m (plus premium, taxes and after-sales but excluding private sales) for first semester sales at its Paris, Lyon and Toulouse operations and its off-site Rétromobile motor cars sale. This was down on the equivalent period last year when its figure was boosted to €122.5m, in part thanks to a €32m Ferrari sold at Rétromobile.

The auction house says that if this “exceptional” lot is removed from the figures, it has achieved a 3.3% increase. Like Christie’s, Artcurial stressed the number of private collections it had offered this year and institutional pre-emptions (44 in total).

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French auctioneers results at a glance.

Rodin and Asian boosts Drouot

Sales for the auctioneers selling at the Drouot auction collective tallied over €202.7m/£176.2m (inc premium but excluding private and after-sales), with six items making more than €1m.

The highest price realised at the auction centre was for a Rodin. The bronze, Eternel Printemps, made €1.96m/£1.7m inc premium at Frasse et Associés in March. It is one of a number of high-flying works by the sculptor offered in France this year on the centenary of his death.

“Christie’s set a record for a work by Diego Giacometti in France

Six items made more than €1m at Drouot over this period and of the top 10 prices, four were paid out for classic pieces of Chinese art in the latest Asian round of auctions in June pictured on page 34-35.

A further three were provided by the Chinese emigré artist Zao Wou- Ki at a June 16 sale held by Auction Art Remy le Fur.

The auction centre also announced on June 22 that Alexandre Giquello has been appointed as the new president of Drouot Patrimoine, the company that runs Drouot, replacing Georges Delettrez, who has held the position since 2002.

Other individual French auction firms issuing results included Tajan at €20.4m/£17.7m (inc premium and after-sales but not private or ArtStudio sales); Beaussant Lefèvre on €11.95m/£10.39m inc premium), Leclère on €10.8m/£9.35m (inc premium) and Osenat on €13.8m/£11.9m (inc premium).

Conversions at £1 = €1.15.