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A figure study by Baccio Bandinelli sold for €260,000 (£222,220) at Artcurial.

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Nudes headline at Artcurial

Early Italian works often command the highest prices in the Old Master Drawings stakes.

A figure study by Baccio Bandinelli (1483-1560) proved to be the toast of the mixed-owner drawings selection offered by Artcurial (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on March 27.

The 15¾ x 10½in (40 x 27cm) double-sided pen and brown ink drawing of male nudes by the 16th century Florentine artist shot past its €30,000-40,000 estimate to take €260,000 (£222,220).


Early Van Gogh

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An early pencil drawing by Vincent Van Gogh sold for €420,000 (£358,975) at Christie’s in Paris. Image: Christie's Images, Ltd, 2019.

An early pencil drawing by Vincent Van Gogh was pursued far in excess of its €120,000-180,000 estimate to take €420,000 (£358,975), one of the top prices in the modern works on paper sale at Christie’s on March 28.

The 18 x 11½in (46 x 29cm) figure of a woman in profile signed Vincent and executed in February 1882, was consigned from a New York collection.

It had a long provenance back to at least 1931 with Hidde Nijland in the Hague, then various Dutch collections.

An early pencil drawing by Vincent Van Gogh sold for €420,000 (£358,975) at Christie’s in Paris.


Chagall in tune

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Marc Chagall's 'Musique en Plein Air' sold for €550,000 (£470,085) at Sotheby’s Paris. Image: Sotheby's Art Digital Studio.

The sales that are staged during Paris Drawings Week encompass works on paper from all eras and in all media from masters of the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Gouaches by Marc Chagall make regular appearances in these events and produce some of the highest prices at the rostrum.

This year was no exception with his work featuring on the best-seller list at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Pictured above is his Musique en Plein Air, a 19 x 23¾in (48.5 x 60.5cm) signed work in watercolour, gouache and ink on paper laid on cardboard of c.1935-38 which sold for €550,000 (£470,085) in Sotheby’s (25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium) sale of 20th century works from the collection of Marcel Arland.

The 68-lot sale, the first of three works on paper events held in the rooms on March 28, featured work collected by the French novelist, critic and journalist who had close ties with a number of French artists, especially Chagall and Georges Rouault.

Another Chagall work on paper, La Danse, in gouache, coloured crayon and pencil on paper from 1928, measuring 20 x 2ft 2in (51 x 66cm), led Christie’s modern works on paper sale on the same day when it made €520,000 (£444,440).

Buyer gets claws into lion hunt

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Pen and wash drawing on paper by Antoine-Jean Gros of a lion hunt sold for €180,000 (£153,845) at Ader. Image copyright: Ader/Drouot.

Highlight of the large mixed-owner drawings sale held at Drouot by Ader (28% buyer’s premium inc VAT) on March 29 was an 8¼ x 11in (21 x 28cm) pen and wash drawing on paper by Antoine-Jean Gros of a lion hunt.

Like the artist’s sketch of Bucephalus and Alexander (sold in 2017 from the Delestre collection by Artcurial for a premium inclusive €455,400 and now in the Louvre), this freely executed scene shows Gros liberated from the neo-classical constraints of his teacher David and exhibiting early signs of Romanticism.

As well as looking forward to the Orientalist works of Delacroix, it harks back to the drawings of Rubens.

An estimate of €20,000-30,000 was left far behind as it sold for €180,000 (£153,845).

In the same sale, Aloys Zotl’s trademark watercolour from his quirky bestiary, featuring a monkey in a luxuriant setting (previewed in ATG No 2384) realised a mid-estimate €75,000 (£64,100).

£1 = €1.17