The successive confinements have pushed the lucky ones, who have balconies, a terrace, a garden or a park, to take care of their exterior layout. Adrien Meyer, world director of private sales at Christie’s, confirms this: “The pandemic has refocused the collector on his habitat, prompting him to rethink his universe and, more than ever, to have fun. “
This is evidenced by the soaring prices of perforated metal furniture by Mathieu Matégot, a designer from the 1950s: in April, the house of Ader sold a pair of its Copacabana model seats for 19,200 euros. Other creators of fifties, like the couple Adrien Audoux and Frida Minet, are also taking advantage of this “outdoor” shift. In May, a suite of four oak and raffia armchairs increased its estimate almost tenfold to reach 27,500 euros. “Their rope outdoor furniture made in Golfe-Juan [Alpes-Maritimes] becomes as expensive as the one made for the interior ”, observes Flavien Gaillard, specialist at Christie’s.
Interest in outdoor art, however, predates the Covid-19 pandemic, reinforced by the presence in Provence of the Venet Foundation, plastic artist Bernar Venet, Domaine du Muy (Var), opened by merchants. Jean-Gabriel and Edward Mitterrand, or even from Château La Coste, in Puy-Sainte-Reparade (Bouches-du-Rhône). Today, auction houses are grabbing the ball. Encouraged by the unexpected success of the outdoor sculptures from the Paul Haim collection in October 2020, Christie’s does it again from June 23 with a private sale of monumental sculptures under the label “Dream Big”.
On the program, pieces by Jeff Koons, Niki de Saint Phalle, Barry Flanagan, Anish Kapoor, as well as antique marbles. Its rival Artcurial is no exception. On the strength of its long-standing experience in the sale of monumental sculptures, the Maison des Dassault is offering on July 22 the third edition of the “Monaco Sculptures” operation, with outdoor works by Lynn Chadwick, Tony Cragg and the tormented woods. by Pablo Reinoso.
If the initiatives are multiplying around outdoor sculpture, it is not bought on a whim, even less on a whim. “You have to think about the scale, the proportions”, insists Edward Mitterrand. Equally crucial is the question of its location. Should we find a place for a sculpture that appeals to us, or should the site determine the choice? “A work exhibited in a gallery may turn out to be far too small once outside”, recognizes Martin Guesnet, European director of the Artcurial auction house, who adds a parameter to take into account: accessibility for its installation.
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