Bernar Venet and the Vitality of Modern Drawings

On 14 June 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Works by Bernar Venet, Le Corbusier, Zao Wou Ki and Vieira da Silva illustrate the vitality of modern drawings.

Bernar Venet (born 1941), Undetermined Line, 1989, gouache, 133 x 150 cm/52.36 x 59.05 in.
Result: €102,400

Another work on paper by Charles Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier (1887-1965), came under the hammer in Paris at the Ader auction house. After Taureau (Bull), which fetched €153,600 on December 8, 2020, Chez soi ou le Soir (At Home, or In the Evening, 68.5 x 99 cm/26.96 x 38.98 in), a 1960 gouache dedicated to a friend and close collaborator, engineer Georges Présenté, sold for €192,000. Bids for modern drawings are rising at a steady pace: this sale brought in a total result of €1,666,470.

Later, a large gouache drawing on paper by French artist Bernar Venet (b. 1941) fetched €102,400. Made in 1989, it was sold by the Louis Carré Gallery and reproduced in the Templon Gallery’s 1990 catalog—a very fine pedigree that clearly worked in its favor. Bernar Venet, a conceptual artist famous for his metal sculptures and explorations of different materials (coal, asphalt, etc.), transposed the volume of his works to the two-dimensionality of paper. In the 1960s, his keen sense of intellectual abstraction and penchant for experimentation earned him a special place in the contemporary art world and paved the way to success. He continued to chart his course and, around 1980, established the basic structure of his Undetermined Lines. Made of steel, they can be found around the world, from Paris to Tokyo, San Francisco, Austin and Berlin, as well as in drawings in highly specialized collections.

Next, Composition (37.4 x 28 cm/14.72 x 11.02 in), a 1961 watercolor by Zao Wou Ki (1920-2013), fetched €140,800. The Franco-Chinese artist needs no introduction, but it is an endless joy to discover his works. Lastly, another Composition (35.5 x 42 cm/13.98 x 16.54 in), this one by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (1908-1990), sold for €87,040. The freshness of modern drawings is still surprising viewers and attracting buyers. So much the better.

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