PHILADELPHIA — Freeman’s November 17 Modern and Contemporary Art auction was marked by competitive bidding between national and international bidders, leading to an impressive overall sale total of nearly $5 million on only 80 lots, far surpassing estimates. “The market is clearly in good health,” said Alasdair Nichol, Freeman’s Chairman. “The majority of today’s lots sailed through their estimates. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results, nor could our clients.”
David Weiss, Head of Sale, remarked that the sale’s success “reflects the strength of the market overall, and the very strong demand for fresh-to-market works. We are delighted with the results, led by Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s sheep and elephant sculptures, paintings by Chaim Soutine and Ahmed Ben Driss El Yacoubi, and a fine group of sculptures by Harry Bertoia. With a very high sell-through rate and an overall result that realized more than twice the low estimate, the sale was an excellent conclusion to Modern and Contemporary’s 2021 season; we are now working with consignors on our Spring 2022 sale.”
The undoubted highlight of the auction was a suite of playful Moutons de Pierre by Francois-Xavier Lalanne from the collection of a prominent Washington, D.C. family, all of which realized prices that soared well past their respective pre-sale estimates. The auction result underscores the enduring market appeal for work by Lalanne and his partner Claude, who co-created under the name Les Lalanne. A set of two moutons (sheep) achieved $705,600; Lots 57 and 58 sold for $466,200 each; and Lot 56 achieved $403,200. In addition to Lalanne’s flock of sheep, his Elephant achieved $264,600 against an estimate of $40,000-$60,000 contributing to a remarkable overall result of $2,305,800 for works by Lalanne.
The sale featured a fine roster of leading 20th and 21st-century artists, from minimalism to Pop Art and more. Le Viaduc Rouge Pres de Vence, a bold canvas by esteemed Russian Expressionist Chaim Soutine, realized $302,400, well exceeding its estimate of $100,000-$150,000.
The auction featured eight important sculptures by Harry Bertoia from several collections; his Untitled (Study for Fiery Circle) achieved $107,100, and Untitled (Tonal Sound Sculpture) sold for $50,400. A screenprint by iconic American artist Andy Warhol, Orangutan from Endangered Species Portfolio, achieved $107,100, above its pre-sale estimate of $40,000-$60,000.
In addition, works by non-Western artists found enthusiastic market reception, including four untitled canvases by Ahmed Ben Driss El Yacoubi that sparked international interest. Following an extensive bidding war, Lot 31 achieved $157,500 and Lot 30 brought $94,500. Vu Cao Dam’s Divinite more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate to achieve $40,950, and Francisco Zuniga’s bronze Evelia in a Butaque brought $20,160.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/