Nicholson's Violon et guitare breaks artist's world record by 158.9%

Ben Nicholson's Violon et guitare was the undoubted star of the Helene Rochas art and furniture collection auction last night (September 27).

The 1933 work sold for €3.3m ($4.3m) at the Christie's auction in Paris, beating its €500,000 high estimate by 562.6%.

Ben Nicholson’s Violon et guitare
Nicholson’s $4.3m Violon et guitare

In doing so it surpassed the previous world record for the British abstract artist by 158.9%, set by his $1.6m Sept 53 (Balearic) in 2011.

The result builds upon a similar estimate-smashing performance at Bonhams in May, where Nicholson's St Ives Rooftops (Salubrious) almost trebled its £100,000 ($162,250) valuation, achieving £283,250 ($459,600).

With interest in Nicholson among art buyers at an all-time high, look out for further impressive results over the coming months and years.

Rochas, who died last year aged 84, took control of her husband's eponymous fashion house following his death in 1955, transforming it into a major fragrance brand.

"Helene Rochas' social life knew no boundaries, allowing her collection to reflect the rich and varied international milieu where she shined so naturally," said the auction house prior to the sale.

Braunes Schweigen, a 1925 work by Kandinsky which hung in Rochas' living room, also performed well, just beating its €2m high estimate with a €2.1m ($2.8m) performance.

Balthus' Japanese Woman with Red Table was another leading lot, selling for €2.3 ($3m).

Produced by the Polish-French artist between 1967-76, it depicts his second wife Setsuko Ideta, whom he married in the year he undertook the work.

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