Marcel Brient collection brings $6.6m to Sotheby's

The contemporary art collection of the renowned Marcel Brient saw strong results at Sotheby's Paris yesterday (September 24).

Simon Hantai Etude Marcel Brient Sotheby's
Simon Hantai's Etude, incorporating his "pliage" technique

Brient is a well-known art collector, whom Sotheby's has described as "intuitive and free-thinking". He is widely respected as a pioneering buyer, who was among the first to purchase works from now-popular artists such as Jeff Koons, John Currin and Felix Gonzales-Torres.

His collection, which had been amassed since the 1960s, offered some of the finest works in the recent history of French art, with a focus on nouveau realisme, support/surface, abstraction and figuration narrative.

Selling at the top of the auction was Simon Hantai's Etude, which is a fantastic example of his "pliage" technique, where the canvas is folded and scrunched before being doused in colour to create a vibrant effect. Signed and dated in 1969, the oil on canvas work sold for €720,750 ($930,368), up 105.9% on its €350,000 high estimate.

Further impressive results were seen by Joan Mitchell's Saint-Martin-La-Garenne No. VI, a characteristically abstract diptych from the US-born artist. Against a €180,000 high estimate, the piece achieved a 140.1% increase, selling for €432,750 ($558,350).

Representing the Noveaux Realistes was Martial Raysse's Arbre. Executed in 1959-1960, the piece is an assemblage of plastic bottles and brushes mounted on a metal stand, designed to resemble a tree. It sold comfortably within its €200,000-300,000 estimate, bringing €216,750 ($279,668).

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