Boutet De Monvel Auction Soars at Sotheby's

PARIS.- The sale of the personal collection of Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881-1949) concluded last night in Paris with an outstanding total of €9,293,271 ($10,611,057) - five times the pre-sale expectations (€1.8-2.8 million) - and 93% of the lots sold.

Over the course of two days, over 550 private collectors, dealers and art institutions from 30 countries from across the world participated in a sale which revealed the genius of Bernard Boutet de Monvel to a wider audience. A third of the buyers were completely new to Sotheby’s and 14% of them chose to buy online.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network were among the buyers.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel was highly admired in France and across the Atlantic during his lifetime. Yet until today, his oeuvre and his life, worthy of a Fitzgerald novel, were little known. He was a 1930s Art Deco portraitist, commissioned by high society types : movie stars, maharajahs and tycoons. His enormous artistic talent included precisionism and landscapes.

Testament to the importance of the artist’s oeuvre in the history of art, eight works by the artist were bought by French museums, including the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée d’Orléans, the Musée de Poitiers and the Musée franco-américain du Château de Blérancourt.

Commenting on today’s sale, Pascale Pavageau, Head of 19th century paintings and drawings, Sotheby’s Paris said: “This landmark sale pays tribute to the immense talent and extraordinary personality of Bernard Boutet de Monvel. The remarkable results achieved today and yesterday place him as one of the most important French artists of the early-20th century.”

Pierre Mothes, Vice-Chairman, Sotheby’s France said: “We are grateful to the family of the artist to have entrusted us with the sale of this iconic collection which was kept secret for so many years”.


Society and Family Portraits

Over the last two days, the artist’s stunning portraits were hotly coveted. Yesterday evening, the previous auction record for the artist was broken twice. His famous 1934 depiction of the Oxford-educated Maharajah of Indore soared to €2,499,000 ($2,853,358) (est. €200,000-300,000), just after his iconic Self-portrait, Place Vendôme, from 1932 sold for €1,743,000 ($1,990,157) (est. €300,000-500,000).

Among other exceptional portraits in the sale were also intimate family paintings of Boutet de Monvel’s beautiful Anglo-Chilean wife, Delfina Edwards Bello and of their daughter Sylvie. A portrait of Delfina wearing an ensemble by Pierre Piguet fetched €363,000 ($414,473), nine times the pre- sale low estimate (est. € 40,000 - 60,000).

Furniture and works of art

The sale also reflected Boutet de Monvel’s immense talent for interior decor and taste for Art Deco. The sale featured furniture and works of art from his “Hotel particulier” and studio in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. A tortoise-shell magnetic movement table clock by Cartier, 1920s achieved €243,000 ($277,457) (est. €40,000-60,000) and an octagonal mirror-panelled he designed for himself around 1927 realised €87,000 ($99,337), over four times the pre-sale estimate (€20,000-30,000).

Additional facts and figures:

- Participation from 30 countries, with buyers from the US, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Asia.

- A third of the buyers are new to Sotheby’s

- 14% of the buyers of participants chose to bid online

- 15% of the lots were sold online

- 8 works were bought by museums

- 2,000 people visited the exhibition during the week preceding the sale

Today's homepage Featured Art Video highlights the enormous collection of Bernard Boutet de Monvel.