La fête d’anniversaire by Léonard Foujita – hammered down for £6.1m at Bonhams.

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Party time presents a Foujita record

La fête d’anniversaire by the Japanese-French artist Léonard Foujita sold for a hammer price of £6.1m (plus premium) to one of eight phone bidders at Bonhams’ Impressionist and Modern Art sale on October 11.

The price, several times the estimate of £900,000-1.3m, is an auction record for the artist.

The painting was one in a series of works Foujita painted in New York in 1949, in homage to the French 17th century writer Jean de la Fontaine.

It seems that Foujita held this work in great esteem, creating a bespoke frame on the theme of a birthday party carved with spoons and bottle opener – something he did for only a select few works.

The work was chosen for Foujita’s solo 1949 exhibition at Mathias Komor Gallery and then travelled to Paris for his important solo exhibition at the Galerie Paul Pétrides in 1950, where it was purchased by a private French collector on the final day of the exhibition.

It has remained in private hands since then, not seen in public for almost 70 years.

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The most clicked-on stories for week October 4-11 on

1 BBC’s decision to axe Flog It! after 17 years is “disappointing,” presenters say

2 Banksy pranks art market with self-destructing picture

3 Sotheby’s hits back at claim filed in New York that it conspired to defraud Russian billionaire

4 ‘Mission Impossible’ style theft at York antiques centre

5 Contents of a Staffordshire manor house come to auction in Derbyshire

Latest art market movers and shakers


Jacob Kodner has launched an auction house in Florida.

A new auction house is launching in Lake Worth, Florida, with its inaugural sale planned for November 7.

Auctioneer Jacob Kodner is running Market Auctions, which is affiliated with the Palm Beach Show Group.

Managing partner Kodner said: “The sale will include a curated selection of the finest collectables, offering bidders the opportunity to choose from a wide-range of pieces at all price ranges.”

Role shift at Robert Young


Florence Grant and Ilse Oliestelder have taken up new roles at Robert Young Antiques.

Robert Young Antiques has promoted Florence Grant to become the principal gallery associate to run its Battersea gallery.

Ilse Oliestelder, the previous gallery director, has returned from maternity leave and will work alongside Grant, on a part-time basis leading on special projects.

Museums’ dismay at Titanic auction

The National Maritime Museum and National Museums Northern Ireland claim the bidding process in the sale of more than 5500 artefacts from the wreck of the Titanic prevented them from submitting a formal offer.

Artefacts were to be auctioned following the bankruptcy of owner Premier Exhibitions. However, US bankruptcy judge Paul Glenn in Florida cancelled the proposed sale and recommended a bid from a group of hedge funds, led by Premier Exhibitions chief executive Daoping Bao.

The two museums said in a statement sent to ATG: “The requirements for submitting a bid set forth in the debtors’ bid procedures appear to have been drafted to preclude museums like ours from participating…

“Unlike other bidders, our joint bid intends to return the artefact collection to its historic home in the United Kingdom, to be held in perpetual public ownership for the benefit of the public interest.”

Judge Glenn will decide on October 18 whether to approve the hedge funds’ bid. A federal judge in Virginia, who oversees salvage activities at the wreck, must also approve any sale.

Banksy art buyer to keep shredded pic


The moment when Banksy’s Girl with Balloon was partly shredded at Sotheby’s.

The buyer of the £1.04m Banksy that was partly shredded in a publicity stunt at an evening auction has agreed to keep the work – which has been renamed Love is in the Bin – as her “own part of art history”.

The picture automatically shredded itself in the frame it was hanging in moments after coming under the hammer for £1.04m (including buyer’s premium) on October 5 at Sotheby’s in London.

The painting will be on show at Sotheby’s this weekend. It was granted a certificate by Pest Control, Banksy’s authentication body, which renamed it from Girl with Balloon.

The buyer is a female European collector and a long-standing Sotheby’s client.

Antiques centre hit by roof raiders

Red House Antiques Centre in York was the victim of a ‘Mission Impossible’ style burglary.

The thieves entered the building via the roof by removing tiles and lowering themselves down through the ceiling on Wednesday, October 3. They headed to the showroom, which houses wares from 55 dealers, and stole thousands of pounds worth of antique gold and jewellery.

The centre is run by Tim Hogarth, a regular on ITV show Dickinson’s Real Deal.

Anyone with information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101 and pass details to the Force Control Room for incident 12180185298.

In Numbers


The rise in web traffic to design and vintage items e-commerce platform since it was acquired by Sotheby’s in February. The auction house also reported that monthly revenue from the site has doubled and it now has 60 partners contributing to its inventory including galleries, showrooms and brands.