Pierre Soulages and Frida Kahlo at the top of the auction

the essential Absolute record for Pierre Soulages, including the painting “Painting 130 x 130 cm, August 4th 1961 ”has exceeded 20 million dollars, yesterday at Sotheby’s in New York. The painter from Rodez confirms his first place as a French painter living in an increasingly stratospheric art market.

Double his estimate! This is what Pierre Soulages’ painting did yesterday at Sotheby’s in New York, “Painting 130 x 130 cm, August 4 1961 ”, which sold to 20, $ 2 million (16, 88 million euros), during a sale which also panicked the counters with a self-portrait of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, “Diego y yo” (“Diego et moi”, 1949), carried to 30 millions of dollars (30 millions of euros).

The Soulages painting, which had spent more than 20 years in a private collection, corresponds to the red period of the century-old French artist, who became famous for his excellence in mastering black and his practice of “L’outrenoir” from 1979. But the painting sold in New York corresponds to its most sought-after period for years, it displays material effects obtained thanks to the scraping technique, which reveals the red tints under the black. she participated in one of the most important retrospectives dedicated to Soulages in the years 1954 (Houston, Paris and Montreal).

“This work of the years 50 – 63 is undoubtedly one of his most exceptional paintings ”, specified the auction house which has not been denied, far from it … Estimated between 8 and million dollars, it was sold at 20, $ 2 million after a heated battle between several buyers in the auction room and on the phone. The identity of the purchaser has not yet been disclosed. “Painting 195 x 130 cm, August 4 1961 ”doubles the previous record, reached in 2019 (9.6 million euros in Paris) with a work from the same period as the one sold yesterday.

Awarded over the phone

The works of the painter from Rodez who lives in Sète, and will celebrate his 100 th birthday the 24 next December, are customary best-sellers, confirming him the place of the most expensive living French painter. Last May, it was in Montpellier that a sale had focused the attention of specialists, amateurs and ten potential customers. “Painting 100 x 81 cm, 12 April 1961 ”had been awarded 1, 3 million, won by a Belgian collector.

The most spectacular purchase made yesterday at Sotheby’s is a painting by Frida Kahlo, legendary legendary Mexican painter who died at 35 years in 1954. Famous for his portraits, this is one where the face of her husband Diego Rivera appears on his forehead, who smashed his old record ($ 8 million in 2016) by reaching 30 millions of dollars. This oil on masonite was acquired by the “Eduardo F. Costantini collection”, named after the Argentinian entrepreneur and collector, founder of the Museum of Latin American Arts (Malba) in Buenos Aires. “Diego y yo” also becomes the most expensive Latin American work of art in history auctioned, the previous record belonging to a painting by … Diego Rivera, “Los Rivales” (1931), sold 9, 63 millions of dollars by Christie’s in 2018.

A billion for Christie’s, a stratospheric market

One of the other highlights of the evening was the sale of a painting by the impressionist Claude Monet, Coin du bassin aux nymphéas (691), for 50 , $ 8 million, far from its record of 102, $ 7 million in 2019, still in New York. After several mixed seasons because of the pandemic, the results of the fall sales 2021 in New York are shaping up to be positive, with auction houses claiming to have found sufficient supply to meet demand that has remained strong. On Monday, Sotheby’s had broken its historic record for a single auction evening, by selling, for 676 millions dollars, 35 works of the very famous collection of modern and contemporary art Macklowe.

For its part, Christie’s announced to have realized for 1.1 billion dollars last week, against 691 millions for these spring sales and 683 millions for those of the fall 2019, before the pandemic.

In Rodez, the Pierre Soulages museum, which the painter and his wife Colette have richly endowed since then 1979, should benefit from a new renewed interest in announcement of the result of yesterday’s sale … In addition to the master’s drawings, paintings, sculpture and stained-glass windows, visitors will discover a new temporary exhibition devoted to … Gaston Chaissac and the CoBrA group. Regularly showing other artists was a requirement of Pierre Soulages prior to the creation of the museum that bears his name. One of Pierre Soulages’ last public outings dates from the exhibition that the Louvre dedicated to him in December 2020, a few days before his hundredth birthday

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