Wednesday, September 20, 2006

All Iegor Saint Hippolyte Auctions All the time...


Last night I was at the Iegor - Hôtel des Encans Auction, and a fun time was had by all. Iegor represents all of what is good and bad about the Quebec Art world. Everybody recognizes what is 'important' but nobody wants to pay for it. The hot Chinese and Russian art markets were in evidence even in Saint Henri (check out the prices below - I have never seen M. Saint Hippolyte get so excited, and believe it or not the painting by Yang Shaobin which went for almost $125,000 (including commission and taxes) did not even merit a "on applaudit!" from him). Personally I am waiting for the day that a Tousignant or a Beaulieu cracks $100K

Jan Anthonisz Van Ravesteyn (1570-1657) Portrait of a noble woman at the age of 43, Oil on wood panel, 1625, 26.75x21
Van Ravesteyn - $3,276.06

Less than $5,000 for a painting from 1625. Someone must think that it is a fake.

Joan Miro (1893-1983) A tout Epreuve, a book with 79 illustrations, numbered 75/106
Miro - $131.04

This to me was the bargain of the night. It was bought by Eric Devlin, who was working the room throughout the entire night - the man is like an energizer bunny! One of the things though that annoyed me was that someone he knew, this pig in an un-tucked pink shirt, insisted on sticking his nose three inches from anything going up for auction, while it was up for auction so that it appeared like his butt was the thing being auctioned. Then when he wasn't doing that, he was grabbing items that he had not bought from the trays they were being carried on.

In my estimation, as long as M. Saint Hippolyte accepts this sort of uncouth and really lousy behavior from his clients, he ain't likely to get prices from the audience that are much higher than what he is already getting. Even I know how to behave in public!

Yang Shaobin, (1963-) Circumstances No. 4, Oil on canvas, 71x82.5
Shaobin - $124,490.38

The biggest painting of the evening.

Claude Tousignant, untitled, Oil on canvas, 23x21
Tousignant - $17,035.53

Started off with a bang, and then quickly died - after seeing the other stuff go, I was wishing and hoping that it would crack $35K, then $25K, then $20K. I was disappointed.

[update: I was informed that in fact it did not sell. If you happen to have a spare $12,500 however it can be yours. Weird, that the reserve is $12.5K as I distinctly heard a bid of $13,000.]

Léon Bellefleur (1910-) Exotique, Oil on canvas, 31x26
Bellefleur - $6,552.13

Jun Ying Wang, Young noble, Oil on canvas, 31.5x23.5
Wang - $15,725.10

Really pretty. By the time this one went, pretty much everyone was or seemed tired. Even the guys handling the art began to get sloppy. I saw one of them grab a handful of cheese doodles, stuff them into his mouth, and then grab a painting. Another time I saw another handler grab one of the Chmaroff's through the piece of paper he was using as a guide for which one went next. Not exactly something that is likely to warm a mother's heart, especially when she is paying those sort of prices.

Paul Chmaroff, Women with turban, Oil on canvas, 18.25x25.5
Chmaroff - $36,691.90

One of thge earlier lots, served as a warning shot that the night was not going to be your standard issue Iegor Saint Hippolyte auction.

Hong Chao (1964-) 22,861,518, Digital photograph, 46.5x82.5
Chao - $23,587.65

Charles Daudelin (1920-2001), 2 Geometrical Compositions and an Asymetrical Expansion, metal sculptures, various dimensions
Daudelin - $1,441.47, $1,310.43 & $3,931.28

Cai Guo-Qiang, Project for the extraterrestrials No. 8, Gunpowder on paper, 20x26
Guo-Qiang - $20,966.80

Somehow I don't think this one makes up for not getting to Shawinigan.

Zinaïda Evguenievna Serebriakova (1884-1967) Nude, Pastel on Ingres paper, 19x22
Serebriakova - $340,710.50

Paul-Vanier Beaulieu, (1910-1996) Provence 40-615, Oil on canvas, 1961, Provenance: P.V. Beaulieu Estate, 32x39.5
Beaulieu - $9,172.98

Zinaïda Evguenievna Serebriakova (1884-1967) Nude, Pastel on Ingres paper, 22x17
Serebriakova - $511,065.75

13 phone bidders for all of these. No I had never heard of them either, but apparently there are a bunch of horny rich guys in Russia.

Zinaïda Evguenievna Serebriakova (1884-1967) Nude, Pastel on Ingres paper, 25x19
Serebriakova - $314,502.00

Zinaïda Evguenievna Serebriakova (1884-1967) Nude, Pastel on Ingres paper, 19x25
Serebriakova - $537,274.25

For this one M. Saint Hippolyte got more excited than I had ever seen him. After the auction he took what looked to be his entire staff out for dinner at L'Express.

William Goodridge Roberts, Still life, Oil on masonite, 30x25
Roberts - $22,277.23

But for me the best part of the evening was actually the ride home. On the metro I saw this guy carrying what was obviously a painting. I asked him if he was happy with his purchase, and he said "YES!" The reason being, as he told me, was that he had been adopted as a child, and had found out who his father was after his father died. Turns out his father had been a Quebecois painter. So what this guy was doing was going around and at every opportunity he had buying up his father's paintings. If I remember correctly, he had tracked down about 30, spoken with all the owners - who all had stories about his dad - and succeeded in purchasing five. He was beaming from ear to ear, and as I left him, I overheard the woman at the deppaneur ask him 'So did you get it?' It made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Oh yeah, it appeared like there were about 120 people to start and I was pleasantly surprised to count 40 people who stayed to the end.

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