A photographic first

04 April 2002

When Sotheby’s sold the second and third parts of Sotheby’s sale of the Jammes collection in Paris on March 21 and 22, the highest price was paid, as expected, for this exceptional collection of correspondence from the French father of photography, Nicéphore Niépce, and his son Isidore, featuring a heliographic reproduction of a Dutch print.

Now AXA bid £51m for the Drouot

02 April 2002

The AXA insurance group have joined the battle for Drouot with an offer believed to be worth €82m (£51m), comfortably exceeding the €69m (£43m) proposed by Barclays Private Equity and the €64m (£40m) by ABN-Amro earlier this year.

Grand Prix Type makes ‘grand prix’

15 March 2002

Christie’s (20.93/11.96% buyer’s premium) staged their first Automobile sale in Paris on February 12 at the Rétromobile vintage car show, which attracts 100,000 visitors every year.

Hiquily’s quirky creations prove winners

04 March 2002

PARIS: Ten works by Philippe Hiquily (born 1925) surfaced in the Camard sale at Drouot on February 8, comfortably exceeding predictions to post “record prices” and enjoy what Camard called “tremendous success among French and foreign collectors and decorators.”

French auction turnover rises by 4.4pc for 2001

04 March 2002

FRANCE: Auction turnover in France, for sales by commissaires-priseurs, rose 4.4 per cent in 2001 to €1.9bn (£1.17bn). There were significant regional increases in Lyon & the South-East (up 14 per cent to £180m, with Lyon itself contributing over one-third of that figure) and Brittany-Anjou (up 17 per cent to £102m), whereas Normandy suffered a dip of 19 per cent with sales of £86m.

A lot of Gaul

04 March 2002

PARIS: The whole history of French coins from Gaulish times to the present was covered by the Jean Vinchon (10.764% buyer’s premium) sale in Paris on November 6. Because it was a single collection rather than the random assemblage that chance had brought across the counter there were many choice examples on offer.

Mucha and more

04 March 2002

A large desert Caravane by Victor Huguet (c.1895), 4ft 4in x 6ft 8in (1.31 x 2.02m) and inspired by Fromentin, led the Delorme-Fraysse picture sale on February 12 with €82,000 (£51,200).

Ssssmokin’! Tobaccology sale sends strong signals

18 February 2002

FRANCE: TOBACCOLOGY may not be the word on everybody’s lips in these smoke-free days but it was the official theme of the offbeat sale held by Rieunier-Bailly-Pommery at Drouot on January 28.

Cracking the 20th century ceramics

18 February 2002

FRANCE: Camard reported “strong progress” in demand among trade and private buyers for 20th century ceramics last year. They returned to the field this year when they offered a “panorama of 100 years of history of ceramics” at Drouot on January 25.

Enduring appeal of eclecticism

18 February 2002

FRANCE: Pictured right is a restored 18th century two-part fountain basin, with a veined red marble shell topped by a white stone lion head, which sold over expectations for €25,000 (£15,500) at Tajan on January 30

Rivals jockey for position as Bergé withdraws Drouot offer

13 February 2002

Pierre Bergé, president of Yves St-Laurent Haute Couture, has withdrawn from the race to acquire control of Drouot Holding SA. The company, which is owned by Paris’s 110 commissaires-priseurs, controls the Hôtel Drouot and the lucrative auction weekly, the Gazette de l’Hôtel Drouot.

French constitution will water down Unidroit

12 February 2002

France has taken the first step towards adopting Unidroit, which enforces strict controls on the restitution of stolen art. On January 29 a first reading of the bill ratifying the convention was adopted by the Assemblée Nationale (lower-house).

International photo fans hail a Scouse Giza

07 February 2002

FRANCE: FRANCIS FRITH (1822-98) was the focus of attention of Beaussant-Lefèvre’s sale of 19th century photographs at Drouot on January 25, as expert Pierre-Marc Richard claimed a world record auction price of €23,000 (£14,400), almost double-estimate, for a Francis Frith photograph: an 1858 view of The Pyramids of El-Geezeh from the south-west (pictured).

Francly, my dear, we don’t give a damn!

07 February 2002

French take the Euro in their stride. Will the Brits be left behind? The euro, all Fr6.56 of it, appears to be making a smooth entry into French salerooms.

Horse and boy image that changes history of photography

23 January 2002

SOTHEBY’S have given the autograph documentation and picture, right, a hefty estimate of €500,000-750,000 for a very good reason: the picture is now thought to be the earliest image made by photographic means.

£7m sales round off a bonne année

23 January 2002

PARIS: A prestige series of auctions held by Tajan at the Hôtel George V just before Christmas (December 17-19) yielded just under £7m hammer.

Magic fountains, Picasso’s pottery and wetting the Dauphin’s head – Sèvres-style

23 January 2002

FRANCE: A gilded and bleu céleste Louis XVI Sèvres cup and saucer, right, 51/2in (14cm) tall and known as the Gobelet Dauphin, sold over estimate for Fr260,000 (£24,800) at Piasa in Paris on December 7.

Chaumet’s three steps to heavenly victory

23 January 2002

PARIS: This extraordinary 2ft 3in (69cm) showpiece entitled Christus Vincit, made by Joseph Chaumet for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, sold for Fr2.8m (£267,000) at Calmels-Chambre-Cohen on December 10.

Music scores with the museums, but Dreyfus and Zola hit the high notes

23 January 2002

PARIS: The Piasa letters and manuscripts sale on December 17 brought Fr7.25m (£690,000) hammer with just 1 per cent bought in, and no fewer than 18 pre-emptions for the Bibliothèque Nationale, Comédie Française, Assemblée Nationale, Musée Victor-Hugo, and the towns of Avignon, Grenoble and Besançon.

Two takeover bids launched for the Drouot

21 January 2002

FRANCE: Just weeks after Sotheby’s and Christie’s first sales in Paris, the Hôtel Drouot is the target of two takeover bids, from Barclays Private Equity, an investment fund, and Pierre Bergé, longtime president of the Yves St-Laurent fashion house and a former chairman of the Paris Opera.