During the lockdown, the Millon auction house took the initiative of staging private sales featuring a single work.
The trial run was a masterstroke. On Wednesday, April 8, Zao Wou-ki's 1967 watercolour, Untitled, originally set to be the star lot in a sale of contemporary paintings at Drouot on March 20, was presented separately online, finally tripling its low estimate when it was knocked down at €189,800. The head of the department explained that private collectors, holed up at home, are keenly on the lookout for outstanding works. So the auction house hatched the concept of a sale highlighting a single work. The gamble paid off—proving that universal art is sure to survive!
So Millon repeated the experience the following Wednesday with an oil on canvas by Bernard Buffet: Still Life with Glass and Dead Branch (Nature morte au verre et à la branche morte) (38.5 x 61 cm, 15.1 x 24 in), which garnered €43,550. This 1950 painting belongs to the decade considered the finest in the artist's career. It is a simple testimony of Buffet's everyday life at the time: a "true reflection of a penniless period" (Annabelle Buffet, Post-scriptum, Plon, 2001).