The master draftsman, the late French illustrator Pierre Le-Tan, had put together a fascinating and extensive collection of art and objects over the course of 40 years of his career. Sotheby’s offered approximately 400 lots from the Paris collection this month, including 40 of his own rare works. This extraordinary sale was opened to the public from March 11th to 15th.
The illustrator, who died in 2019 at the age of 69, lived with these pieces in three small rooms in his Paris apartment that depict his work, inspiration and way of life. “We’re trying to be true to its spirit. It’s not one of those collections where you’re going to have a $ 20 million Picasso. It’s a universe we want to recreate. We hope it’s all kinds.” appeals to collectors around the world. There’s something for everyone, ”said Etienne Hellman, Sotheby’s Senior Director of Modern Art.
The auction contains the rarest offers; His drawings, which he only made on special request or for close friends, rarely appear on the market. His unique style is characterized by fine parallel lines and hatching in ink, which are often decorated with watercolors. Through his drawings, the artist created a melancholy world, nostalgia for an era he had never really known.
One of his most important works is the cover that he created for The New Yorker, which shows a rainbow through a window. It was published on August 18, 1977 and is priced online at an estimated 10,000-15,000 euros. Another iconic drawing by the artist is the timeless image of a young woman seated on a bench and gazing from behind at the distant Eiffel Tower, which Le-Tan considered to be the ultimate Parisian monument (estimate: 4,000 to 6,000 euros).
One of the most famous works in the collection is a portrait of Pierre LeTan, which David Hockney designed during a dinner at La Coupole on June 20, 1974 (estimate: 30,000 to 50,000 euros).
The sale also features one of his final works drawn for an exhibition in 2018. After Le-Tan’s introduction, the subject of the exhibition was Mr X.’s collection, which in a mixture of fantasy and facts was actually his own. This illustration from 2018 (estimate: € 5,000 to € 7,000) shows the marble sculpture of Hercules, which is attributed to Juste Le Court and is also offered at auction (estimate: € 30,000 and € 50,000). The auction includes an amazing pair of foot-shaped shoes designed by Pierre Cardin in the 1980s (estimate: € 800 to € 1,200) and a 19th century wooden box, the contents of which are coated with canary-yellow sulfur crystals (estimate: € 2,000 to € 3,000 ).
Le-Tan’s collection reflects the wide range of artists he admires, from Christian Bérard – whose self-portrait (estimate: 4,000 to 6,000 euros) was always on his desk – to Jean Cocteau with two drawings of his dog Mousco (estimate: € 1,200 – € 1,600 each) and Jean Hugo with his wonderful gouache on football players (estimate: € 6,000 – € 8,000).
With his immense passion for Islamic art, the auction will also feature several decorative tiles, including a set of 4 16th Century Iznik tiles (estimate: € 3,000 to € 5,000) and a Safavid tile depicting a figure in a landscape from the 17th century (estimate: € 4,000 to € 6,000). His apartment was also littered with Islamic carpets. They hung on the walls and were stacked in successive layers on the floor and even on his work table.
In addition to his own artwork, the sale also includes a dozen paintings by his father Lê Phổ, a well-known Vietnamese modern artist who specializes in them Still life and ethereal representations of the Madonna and Child. His works give soft, meandering, expressive lines a high priority. He liked traditional motifs inspired by the Italian Renaissance, which can be seen in his painting Vierge à L’Enfant, which is estimated at 50,000 to 70,000 euros. The sale will also feature a rare Le-Phô self-portrait from 1928, the year of his first public exhibition. The car portrait Dans la forêt has been in the family since it was painted and is estimated at 150,000 to 200,000 euros.
This collection is safe to watch, so save the date. After all, the illustrator himself said in his last works: Quelques Collectionneurs“A smart collector always buys against the trend.”