Contemporary Art Auction in Paris focused on New Realists

[05 Apr 2005]


On 19 April, the auction house Cornette de Saint Cyr well be the venue for a major auction of contemporary art dedicated to the New Realists and entitled “The ‘New Realists’, Contemporary Art, Banque Worms Collection”. This is not the first time.

On 4 December 2003, the same artists—highly praised by the art critic Pierre Restany—were already the focus of a very successful auction organised by Piasa. 100% of the lots from the Annie Ronchèse collection were sold, and in many cases higher than the estimates! Apart from the New Realists, the results of the Piasa auction were somewhat disappointing with some works selling for less than their lowest estimates.

This time, the centrepiece of the event will be 11 works by César, including expansions, compressions and a thumb. The auction will also include 6 works by Raymond HAINS, 5 by Yves KLEIN, 5 by Daniel SPOERRI including a large Tableau Piège from 1972 (estimated at EUR 10,000-15,000), 7 by Niki DE SAINT-PHALLE including a Nana from 1970 (estimated at EUR 60,000–80,000), a Candélabre by Jean TINGUELY (estimated at EUR 20,000–25,000), 5 by Mimmo ROTELLA (including 3 ‘décollages’), 3 ‘dessous d’affiches’ de François DUFRENE, and 2 works by Fernandez ARMAN.

Examples of price growths for New Realists in 2004

Growth rate





Fernandez ARMAN




Martial RAYSSE

Raymond HAINS

The star lot of the New Realists segment will be Yves Klein’s small anthropometric work entitled “ANT 142, 1962” (52×39 cm) estimated at between EUR 250,000 and EUR 300,000. The last similarly-sized Yves Klien ‘anthropometry’ to be sold publicly raised EUR 166,000 at a London auction in 2001. However, since then the artist’s price index has risen – with a notable acceleration in 2004 (+28%).

Fans of the American segment will have plenty to chase, including works by Keith HARING, Jean-Michel BASQUIAT, Jim DINE, Robert INDIANA, and… no less than 5 by Sol LEWITT, 9 by Tom WESSELMANN, and 13 by Andy WARHOL.

According to Artprice, the New Realists’ price index rose 12.8% in 2004, contributing to a 46.6% increase over the last ten years. Nevertheless, the works of these artists are still valued at a 56% discount to the levels reached in 1989.