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Works on Paper & Editions, sale December 9, results

The ‘Works on Paper & Editions’ auction, spread over three sessions, became a captivating spectacle.

Click here for all results per session.

In the morning, it was the turn of literature and valuable art and artists’ books to warm up the public.
It was a successful prelude: a magnificent set of the first volume of ‘Van Nu & Straks’ (lot 1002) fetched an unprecedented € 3800. Two rare editions by Jean Dubuffet, lots 1061 and 1062, fetched € 2200 and € 3000 respectively, while the rare G58 ‘Vision in Motion’ catalogue, with its even rarer invitation, climbed to € 1700 (lot 1069). An almost complete set of the rare magazine ‘Iris Time’ was sold online to a foreign collector for € 2000 (lot 1079). The number 1 copy of the great Claus portfolio ‘A woman’ (lot 1147), including the original manuscript, an original signed etching by Hans Bellmer, an original drawing and a copper plate, was hammered out at € 3600 (lot 1147).

The afternoon session had only just begun when a duel broke out between a buyer in the hall and a dealer on the telephone for the drawing by Peter Alma (lot 1245), the latter taking the prize for an astonishing € 7600. Shortly afterwards, a monumental drawing by Permeke (lot 1248), ‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony’, was also sold on the telephone for no less than € 28000. The sheet, which was still on display at the Ostend Retrospective and was also exhibited in Boymans-Van Beuningen, was valued at €10/12000.

A sheet by the German expressionist Conrad Felixmüller (lot 1281) in turn found a new owner at € 3200.
From an Antwerp collection came a dozen original gouaches by the Portuguese artist Jose de Guimaraes (lots 1321-26 and 1340-43), all of which found a buyer between € 2000 and 3200. The Ghent artist Philippe Vandenberg was represented with two early charcoal drawings (lots 1372 and 73) and a monumental collage (lot 1374), all from the legendary Ghent gallerist Richard Foncke. One (of the two) went for € 4000 while the collage turned out to be worth € 7000.

From an Antwerp collection, a series of rare photographs by Antoon Dries also came up for auction, all of which found a buyer with results between € 300 and € 950.

The evening auction would prove to be a magnificent finale, with an enthusiastic public – in the hall, on the phone and online – bidding eagerly. Everything that bore the Panamarenko name seemed to be a hunted wild game, with lot 1539, the 2001 ‘Thermo Photovoltaic Energy Converter’, as the absolute highlight (res.: € 12000).

However, it was only during the auction of the precarious items from the archive of the late Jan Hoet that the buying devils were unleashed.

Almost every piece ended up well above the initial estimate, with a starring role for Belgian artists Roger Raveel and Raoul De Keyser. By the latter, an original New Year’s card (lot 1598) was sold for €6000 (estimate: €2/2200), while an etching, heightened with watercolour, from 2004, estimated at around €1500, changed hands four times over (lot 1638, res.: € 6500). Meanwhile, René Heyvaert confirmed his regained status and an assemblage of Bambix boxes went for no less than € 9000 to its new owner (lot 1588). The more than symbolic blood drawing by Philippe Vandenberg (lot 1612), with emotional dedication to Jan Hoet, was bid up to € 7500.

But it was the shadow favourite that became the showpiece of the evening: the colour lithograph by Marina Abramovic (lot 1619) ‘The Urgent Dance’ from 1996, which the artist touched up with chalk and marker specially for Jan Hoet, was hammered out for no less than € 13000.

That the name Jan Hoet had been forgotten was clearly contradicted by this successful auction.