Joseph Sima’s victorious return

On 17 September 2020, by Philippe Dufour

Fascinated by Greek mythology, the Bohemia-born painter tackled the eventful life of Theseus, while Guillaumin preferred the landscapes of the Creuse and Lacroix de Marseille preferred those of the Mediterranean coast.

Joseph Sima (1891-1971), Le Retour de Thésée (The Return of Theseus), c. 1933-1934, gouache, watercolour and ink on fibrous paper, signed, 45 x 72 cm.
Result: €107,880

Sima’s 1933-1934 gouache, watercolour and ink Le Retour de Thésée (The Return of Theseus) surprised even his admirers by reaching 10 times its upper estimate. It fetched €107,880, one of the best results for this medium (source: Artnet). Its subject – the Surrealist interpretation of the Athenian hero’s myth with, as always, a strange prismatic crystal lying in front of the ruins of a classical structure on a deserted shore – undoubtedly has something to do with that. Back in the real world, Armand Guillaumin’s Coucher de soleil sur le Puy Barriou (Sunset over the Puy Barriou), a flamboyant 60 x 73 cm, oil-on-canvas with a beautiful chromatic intensity that has been in various private collections, including that of the Parisian financier Georges Dubois, found a buyer at €38,440. Old Masters were not to be outdone, especially Charles-François Lacroix de Marseille, whose 26 x 37 cm, Marine au crépuscule (Seascape at Dusk) sold for €19,220.

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