Rhinocrétaire I by François-Xavier Lalanne

Rhinocrétaire I by François-Xavier Lalanne, €15.7m (£13.7m) at Christie’s in France.

Image: Christie’s / Freddy Persson.

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Horn of plenty: Lalanne top sum

An auction record for François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008) was set at Christie’s France on October 20.

His sculpture Rhinocrétaire I was hammered down at €15.7m (£13.7m) or €18.3m including premium.

The price doubled the previous record for the artist.

Cécile Verdier, chairman of Christie’s France and auctioneer for the sale, said it was a “historic moment in Paris for this unique 1964 piece, which establishes François-Xavier Lalanne as one of the great sculptors of the second half of the 20th century”. It had been estimated at €4m-6m.

Dreweatts to sell Tomasso items

Borghese gladiator

Among the lots in the Tomasso auction to be staged by Dreweatts is this 19th century life-size bronze figure of the Borghese gladiator on a portoro base. Estimate £20,000-30,000.

Leeds and London dealership Tomasso is to hold a sale of stock at Dreweatts on November 14-15.

The auction comprises nearly 460 lots from the Tomasso collection in its Leeds home of Bardon Hall, which the sale is named after.

Described in the catalogue by art historian Sir Timothy Clifford, Bardon Hall in Westwood Lane on the outskirts of Leeds is “remarkable, a sort of castle of Otranto… stuffed with marbles, bronzes large and small, Italian drawings, paintings and even some Renaissance medals and plaquettes”.

Tomasso held two sales with Sotheby’s in 2021, and this auction is the third to clear excess stock. The dealership will remain in both its Bardon Hall and Jermyn Street, London, premises.

Joe Robinson, Dreweatts head of house sales and private collections, said: “The auction will offer an exciting opportunity to attain works from the collection of two of the most respected dealers of European sculpture, Old Master paintings and ancient art.”

John hands reins to Jemma and Josh

John Davies Framing’s team

John Davies Framing’s managing director Jemma Trebilco and director Josh Davies.

John Davies, of John Davies Framing, has retired at the age of 82.

He has worked in the business for more than 50 years and framed high-prof ile paintings including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft as well as numerous works by Rembrandt, Picasso, van Gogh, Degas and Monet.

The firm itself remains with the family and is now being run by the next generation in the form of Davies’ step-daughter Jemma Trebilco as managing director and his son Josh Davies as director and strategy adviser.

Gold price hits a record high

The price of gold reached a record high last week as the instability in the Middle East was among the reasons investors f locked to the traditional ‘safe haven’.

The gold price has been rising strongly since early October, increasing by almost 5%, and reached a new high on October 26 when the gold fix touched £1649.90 before dropping back slightly.

During the previous spike back in April, the gold fix rose to £1627 – a record level at the time.

Brighton-based precious metals dealer Michael Bloomstein told ATG: “The price is going through the roof.

We’ve been very busy with lots of large bars and coins coming in to be scrapped but, interestingly, not so much jewellery and small items at the moment. Perhaps people are waiting to see if the price goes even higher?”

In terms of the reasons behind the current rise in gold, Bloomstein said: “Regrettably the Middle East situation is an important factor in investors looking for risk-averse areas. But also concerns over high rates of inflation, the banking system and economic growth have made people look more towards tangible assets.

“The Gaza crisis has effectively accelerated these factors.”

Bamfords note

Further to a story that appeared in ATG No 2615, Bamfords has asked us to clarify that the firm was founded by the core members of the Neales Derby team in August 2002 and the two original directors were James Lewis and his father.

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In Numbers


The low estimate for Paul Cézanne’s still life Fruits et pot de gingembre being offered at Christie’s New York on November 9. Consigned by the Museum Langmatt in Baden, Switzerland, it emerged last week that a settlement been reached with heirs of German-Jewish banker and art collector Jacob Goldschmidt who had jointly owned it until 1933. Christie’s catalogue states: “The settlement agreement resolves the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder.”