On 23 October the sale of 23 silver plates by Picasso for over €2 million – more than twice their low estimate – set the tone: decorative arts would dominate the season. The group of exquisite plates led the first dedicated sale of modern art to be held at Christie’s Paris, organised to coincide with FIAC.
The sale of Masterpieces from an Important European Collection a few weeks later was a triumph with 95% of lots sold, realising a total of more than €8.3 million. The top lot of this sale of decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th century, comprising furniture, ceramics, silver and enamels, was a matched pair of Louis XIV coffers on stands by André-Charles Boulle, which sold for more than €1.6 million. The museum-quality selection of enamels also achieved exceptional prices: a Venetian pair of candlesticks doubled its estimate to realise €361,500, while a pair of rectangular parcel-gilt and polychrome enamel plaques joined the national collection at the Limoges Fine Arts Museum.
The following day Le Goût Français doubled its pre-sale estimate to achieve a total of €7.5 million. The auction opened with works from the collection of Elie and Inna Nahmias. An impressive 83% of lots in this first section sold, including a Louis XV writing table attributed to Bernard II van Risenburgh (‘B.V.R.B’) which realised over €250,000. Strong results were also achieved across a range of categories: a silver-gilt tazza sold for €205,500, six times its estimate; two St. Cloud white porcelain spice-boxes doubled their high estimate; a pair of bronze equestrian groups of Fame and Mercury realised over €450,000 – over four and a half times its high estimate; and a set of seven Regency giltwood armchairs realised an impressive €217,500.
The 20/21 Design auction brought November to a close, doubling its pre-sale estimate and establishing world auction records for three artists. ‘Tigresse jouant’ or ‘donnant un coup de patte’ by François Pompon realised €607,500, nearly seven times its low estimate. Jacques Quinet’s pair of armchairs had bidders on the edge of their seats: they sold for five times their low estimate; while Lionne assise tête à gauche realised an impressive €169,500, a record price at auction for a work by Georges-Lucien Guyot.