July’s hottest auction action

Cartier clocks, charity postcards and a four-city live-streamed art relay

Pink-quartz Cartier clock by Maurice Coüet, c1925, with mother-of-pearl dial, carved jade centre and onyx handle, estimate CHF40,000-60,000, at Christie’s
Pink-quartz Cartier clock by Maurice Coüet, c1925, with mother-of-pearl dial, carved jade centre and onyx handle, estimate CHF40,000-60,000, at Christie’s

101 Cartier Clocks

“They were often inscribed with initials or messages and offered by wealthy families as keepsakes.” Christie’s jewellery specialist Marie-Cécile Cisamolo is talking about the clocks Cartier has been producing since the Belle Époque – 101 of which will cross the block online next month. The single-owner collection, built up over 30 years, is the largest of its kind to be offered at auction, and comes with a combined low estimate of CHF3,863,000 (about £3.3m).

Maurice Coüet art-deco desk clock with moonstone, mother-of-pearl, turquoise and rose-cut diamonds, CHF120,0000-180,000
Maurice Coüet art-deco desk clock with moonstone, mother-of-pearl, turquoise and rose-cut diamonds, CHF120,0000-180,000
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Gold travel clocks, jewelled turn-of-the-century confections and boldly enamelled art deco designs are all bolstered by haute horlogerie. There are two early-20th-century semi-mystery strut clocks, featuring two superimposed dials as well as day-night indicators alongside imagery of planets and comets (c1920 Comet clock, CHF70,000-100,000). Among the most sought-after lots are those by master clockmaker Maurice Coüet, including an opulent art deco desk clock – its central Japanese-style enamel scene offset with moonstone, mother-of-pearl, turquoise and rose-cut diamonds (CHF120,0000-180,000) – and two rare Chronoscope clocks with mobile hours. christies.com; 7 to 21 July

The summer auction from Art On A Postcard
The summer auction from Art On A Postcard
Victor 25448, 1987, by Jean-Michel Basquiat, valued at $10m
Victor 25448, 1987, by Jean-Michel Basquiat, valued at $10m | Image: Image courtesy of Phillips

Art On A Postcard

This charity initiative is best known for its secret auctions – where the creator of each mini artwork is not revealed until bidding is over – but Art On A Postcard’s current sale will appeal to those who favour transparency over mystery, as this time the artists are being announced upfront. Julian Opie and Jake and Dinos Chapman are among the best-known names to have contributed original 10cm by 15cm works for the online auction, while Berlin-based graffiti artist Kai “Raws” Imhof has created a series of precise spray-painted abstracts, and young Polish painter Oh de Laval supplies a mix of humour and eroticism in her signature expressive style. Bidding starts at £50 and sales will benefit the Hepatitis C Trust. artonapostcard.com, until 9 July

Les femmes d'Alger (version F), by Picasso, at Christie’s
Les femmes d'Alger (version F), by Picasso, at Christie’s
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Livestream art sales

In April, Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale generated more than £5m – a new online record that included the house’s highest single online sale to date: $1.3m for American artist George Condo’s Antipodal Reunion. The art world has indeed kept on turning. Now, Phillips is hosting its 2 July evening sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, a key event in its New York calendar, via livestream. Up for grabs for app-enabled bidders are Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Victor (1987), valued at $8-$12m; abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell’s Noël (1961-1962), with a low estimate of $9.5m; and one of self-taught artist Matthew Wong’s colourful, naive interior scenes (Mood Room, 2018) at $60,000-$80,000.

The following week, Christie’s is offering a relay race of live art auctions across four cities – Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York, where works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha are all expected to top $20m. Can this landmark event summon up the buzz – and the bidding frenzy – of the real auction room? It’s certainly worth watching. phillips.com, 2 July; christies.com, 10 July

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