A sculpture formed as delicately as a rose by Anish Kapoor estimated to sell for between £88,000 and £105,000; a painting of the River Seine by Paul Signac for between £9,000 and £13,000; and an electric blue sponge by Yves Klein estimated at between £36,000 and £54,000 are some of the highlights of an eclectic range of about 40 artworks being auctioned by Christie’s on Monday December 4 to raise money to restore the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés – and, in particular, the beautiful, fragile frescoes by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, student of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
The sale’s co-ordinator is Daniel Moquay, head of the Archives Yves Klein, who has roused collectors, galleries and artists to help restore the oldest church in Paris, one at the centre of the area that was once a “mecca of culture” – home to Renoir, Monet and Picasso as well as writers including Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde.
Within the lots being offered, ecclesiastical subjects loom large, but the mix is thrillingly varied. To wit: a powerful collage by Josef Albers of the nave of a cathedral (£7,200-£11,000) and a print of a craggy Venetian monk by Andres Serrano (£9,000-£13,000) jostle with a jubilantly cartoonish drawing of an obelisk (£9,000-£13,000) by Ken Price, and a thinly traced sketch by Andy Goldsworthy of a French cairn (£1,800-£2,700).
Other works include those by Damien Hirst, Bernar Venet, Anni Albers and Claes Oldenburg, with the top lot by Günther Uecker, Kleines Gebet (Small Prayer); a bed of white nails that’s estimated at £170,000-£220,000.
“The high quality and diversity of the works presented in this auction bear witness to the tremendous mobilisation of the art market for the restoration of Saint-Germain-des-Prés,” says Paul Nyzam, specialist in charge of the sale at Christie’s. “Emblematic works by some of the most important artists of the 20th century will be offered, some of them estimated at just a few thousand euros, allowing many of us to join this exceptional project.”