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Felix Vallotton Leads Sotheby's $6.39m Impressionist Sale in Paris

3 min read  · 23 Oct 2023

Le baiser by Felix Vallotton sold for $832,900. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

A painting by Felix Vallotton was the headline sale at Sotheby's Art Impressionniste et Moderne Evening Auction on October 20 in Paris.

  • The sale totaled $6.39m, falling short of expections.

  • Pre-sale estimates ranged from $8m to $11m in total.

Along with the outperforming works and the underperforming ones, we demystify auction-house jargon and decode the small print. The results below include the fees and premiums added to the price when the auctioneer's hammer fell. Sale prices are compared to the auction house’s low estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 30 works that went under the hammer totaled: $6.39m.

  • Estimates totaled: $7.84m (low) and $11.12m (high).

  • The sell-through rate was 67% of the original 45 lots.

The star lot by value was: Felix Vallotton, Le baiser/ The kiss (1898), which sold for $832,900, 21% above its estimate. It has been traded 4 times in the past.

The outperformer sold for 250% above estimate. Gustav Klimt, Studienkopf eines alten Mannes (1896), sold for $295,600. It has been traded 5 times in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

  • 16 works, or 53%, sold above their high estimate.

  • 12 works, or 40%, sold within their estimate.

  • 2 works, or 7%, sold below their low estimate.

Guaranteed sales

No works had a guarantee.

Works that did not sell

14 works were bought-in, including:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jeune femme à la cravate noire (1897) estimated at $580,400 (low) to $791,400 (high). It has been traded 4 times in the past.

Withdrawn before the sale

1 work was withdrawn:

Chaim Soutine, Paysage à la campagne à Céret (1919) estimated at $633,100 (low) to $844,200 (high).

Auction jargon

Guarantees: Sometimes an auction house guarantees to pay a seller for a work, regardless of whether the bidding reaches the reserve price, a figure that is typically confidential.

Bought-in: If there are no bids for a work, or if bidding falls short of the reserve price, the lot is unsold or “bought-in”.

Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.


Felix Vallotton