The Return of Joséphine
Originally, recipe click the lower level of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées harbored a smoking salon, sale which was quickly deserted. After the war, Josephine Baker, who knew the theater well, having captivated all of Paris with the Revue Nègre presented here in the 1920’s, decided to give new life to this lower level with her cabaret. Much later, after the complete renovation of the building in 1987, this area found a new vocation when it became the site for the most prestigious sales of Paris’s famous Drouot auction house. Thus, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées returned to the multidisciplinary approach it had in its beginning when an art gallery was housed in what is today the Studio. In recent years, a special event has been added to the auction calendar: Called Drouot’s “Temps Forts”, this twice-yearly sale features the most beautiful and exceptional objects destined to pass under the auctioneer’s hammer.
A Record for Picasso
In the relatively short history of the Drouot-Montaigne auction room, there has been no lack of exceptional sales. In November 1989, bids for Picasso’s Noces de Pierrette, reached the astronomical price of 300 million francs (46 million euros) under the hammer of auctioneer Maître Binoche. Today, this remains one of the ten highest sale prices in the history of art auctions. In 2002, the sale of jewels of Princess Soraya, first wife of the Shah of Iran, made news when bids soared to as much as ten times the estimated prices; A platinum ring created by Harry Winston brought more than a million euros. More recent sales of note have included the impressionist paintings of the Rouart Collection, the Art Nouveau and Art Deco pieces of Manoukian and Hebey, and the mementos of Maria Callas. And who could forget the seemingly endless sale of Brassaï photos (more than 800 lots from the artist’s inheritance), marking one of the great moments of the Fall 2006.
“Temps Forts at Drouot Montaigne”, which takes place in May and November at Drouot Montaigne. Preview presentation of the most important works of upcoming sales.
Alain Delon’s Treasures
Each year brings its surprises and heart-throbs. In 2007, after bids soared for a painting by Basquiat in late March (1.1 million euros by auctioneer Cornette de Saint-Cyr), keen attention is likely to focus on the sale of French actor Alain Delon’s art collection. It consists of beautiful works from the 1950’s, from the Cobra movement and the “Ecole de Paris”, including canvases by Appel, Manessier, Hartung, Soulages, Dubuffet and De Staël, but also some great names from earlier periods such as Delacroix, Géricault or Millet. Until now, the actor has jealously guarded his collection, sharing it only with intimate friends (and, exceptionally, with visitors to the Aplicat-Prazan art gallery last spring.) And, he had made it very clear: he would never sell! The event promises to live up to the reputation of the collection’s owner. The sale will take place on the evening of October 15: a large crowd is expected!