The contemporary art collection of the renowned Marcel Brient saw strong results at Sotheby's Paris yesterday (September 24).
Brient is a well-known art collector, whom Sotheby's has described as "intuitive and free-thinking". He is widely respected as a pioneering buyer, who was among the first to purchase works from now-popular artists such as Jeff Koons, John Currin and Felix Gonzales-Torres.
His collection, which had been amassed since the 1960s, offered some of the finest works in the recent history of French art, with a focus on nouveau realisme, support/surface, abstraction and figuration narrative.
Selling at the top of the auction was Simon Hantai's Etude, which is a fantastic example of his "pliage" technique, where the canvas is folded and scrunched before being doused in colour to create a vibrant effect. Signed and dated in 1969, the oil on canvas work sold for €720,750 ($930,368), up 105.9% on its €350,000 high estimate.
Further impressive results were seen by Joan Mitchell's Saint-Martin-La-Garenne No. VI, a characteristically abstract diptych from the US-born artist. Against a €180,000 high estimate, the piece achieved a 140.1% increase, selling for €432,750 ($558,350).
Representing the Noveaux Realistes was Martial Raysse's Arbre. Executed in 1959-1960, the piece is an assemblage of plastic bottles and brushes mounted on a metal stand, designed to resemble a tree. It sold comfortably within its €200,000-300,000 estimate, bringing €216,750 ($279,668).