Amazing Artwork to Grace Aguttes’ Contemporary Art Auction on December 14

Asian contemporary art

As the autumn auctions of French auction house Aguttes' contemporary art sale is coming to an end, don't miss the finale on December 14, led by Asian abstract artist Wang Yancheng’s La fonte des neiges, where the artist’s exploration of traditional chinoiserie and Western abstractionism is set to attract sensational responses.


Wang Yancheng 

Born in 1960 in Guangdong province, China, Wan Yancheng is a French-Chinese painter who divides his time between Paris and Beijing. Wan Yancheng studied at the Shandong Institute of Fine Arts in Yantai before taking up a teaching position at institution. His training introduced him to Western art; he then went under the tutelage of a few Chinese artists who had travelled in Europe, especially in France.

He was barely 30 when he visited France for the first time. After his stay in Saint-Etienne, he moved to Paris and split his time between there and Beijing. Since 1998, his works have been in Chinese public collections, including the Shenzhen Art Museum and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing.

In 2002, he became Vice-President of IACA at UNESCO’s International Association of Fine Arts, overseeing the promotion of international artistic and cultural collaborations. The Musée de Mont-parnasse featured a series of recent works that were subsequently exhibited in 2010 in Beijing. 

Lot 82 | Wang Yancheng (B. 1960), La fonte des neiges

Oil on canvas, signed, dated lower right, countersigned, dated and titled on reverse

Painted in 2006

150 x 150 cm


  • Galerie Protée, Paris 

  • Collection privée, France

The work has been authenticated by Galerie Protée

Estimate: €60,000 - 80,000


The present lot, La fonte des neiges exemplifies the artist’s ability to tie the elegance of traditional Chinese calligraphy and Western aesthetics together. Often seen as a successor of the first generation French-Chinese painters, especially of Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun, what Wang brings forward here is his pictorial freedom and innermost feelings, presented with the ideas and theories of lyrical abstraction.

The vibrant colorways of amber and orange stand out against the dark background with dimensions. The oil paints almost dropped freely down from the canvas; together with the immersive brushwork, the painting gives out a sense of atmospheric flow and dynamism.


La fonte des neiges (partial)

La fonte des neiges (partial)


Contemporary art

Another prominent name that defines the century is one of the fathers of lyrical abstraction, Georges Mathieu is known for his works done by applying paint directly on the canvas with a tube.


Georges Mathieu

Georges Mathieu, born in 1921, the law student-turned artist began his artistic career in 1942, with plastic arts in the beginning, but emerged to abstraction after the Second World War. The art critic Jean José Marchand defined Mathieu's canvases as evoking for the first time the notion of "lyrical abstraction."

Indeed, the artist is opposed to geometric abstraction, he frees himself from classical constraints and habits. He thoughts of his art as a performance and places the emphasis on gestures. From the 1950s onwards he made numerous happenings and performances in front of an audience and definitively placed his work at the heart of action painting. The genius of gesture and creative impulses are sacralized. The spontaneity with which his works translated into a strong emotion, in the absence of an exact representation of reality.

The forms are clear and precise. In 1957, Georges Mathieu spent a few months in Japan where he discovered a deep interest in the art of calligraphy. He drew his inspiration from this very ancient traditional practice to build his composition from abstract signs by concentrating on gesture. He denied meaning to these signs to demonstrate that their understanding comes from a mental reconstruction made by the reader and not from the forms themselves. 

“It is the most direct expression of dissatisfaction and willpower. Painting is a will, it is no longer an act of doing. The canvas is whipped, jostled, slashed; the colour spurts, fuses, pierces, twirls, rises, crashes. The craftsmanship, the finish, the lick of Greek ideals, all this is dead. Tension, density, the unknown, mystery reign and win over all the paintings. For the first time in history, painting has become a spectacle, and one can witness its creation as one attends a jam session. She has left the silence and solitude of the studio to take to the streets, she is returning to a direct and spontaneous dialogue with the popular soul. Painting has become action.” — Georges Mathieu


Lot 107 | Georges Mathieu (1921-2012), Et les Siècles Obscurs Devant Moi Se Découvrent

Alkyd on canvas, signed lower right and titled on the frame

Painted circa 1986

130 x 250 cm


  • Villa degli Angeli, October 13-18,1988, Fiésole, Italy

Estimate: €380,000 - 450,000


Et les Siècles Obscurs Devant Moi Se Découvrent (partial)

Et les Siècles Obscurs Devant Moi Se Découvrent (partial)


Maurice Estève 

Another highlight is Bula by Maurice Estève. Deeply influenced by the expressionist period during the Spanish Civil War, Estève developed his pictorial presentation through a completely personal approach. Curated in 1970, the composition and vibrancy of the present work depict the artist’s prowess in the use of colors.

Encompassing Estève’s oeuvre is an array of works from color lithographs, watercolors, to collagages. His works later in his career gradually departed from realism and started to demonstrate characteristics of abstraction.

In 1970, the artist was awarded the Grand Prix National des Arts. Several retrospectives were devoted to him from 1981 onwards. Bula was exhibited on several occasions, notably in 1986 and 1987, at the Grand Palais and the Henie-Onstad art center located in Oslo respectively.

“I never use a sketch, I paint directly on the canvas, without a preliminary drawing. The colour is organised at the same time as the shapes. Everything is sought in the format in progress... Each work is a series of metamorphoses... In truth, a canvas is for me a sum of incessant repetitions that last until I find myself in front of an organism that I feel is alive (...) There is no preliminary image in me; no form that I wish to have on a canvas a priori. At the very moment when I paint, there is an exchange, a conversation between me and the painting as it is being organised.” — Estève, in Estève, Zodiac, April 1979



Lot 89 | Maurice Estève (1904-2001) Bula

Oil on canvas, signed and dated on the lower part signed, dated on the lower part, countersigned, dated and titled on reverse

65 cm diameter


  • Collection Jeanne Laurent 

  • Vente Loudemer, Paris, 1990 

  • Collection privée, France


  • Estève, peintures récentes, Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, 1977 

  • Estève, oeuvres 1919 - 1978, Château d'Ancy le Franc, Ancy le Franc, 1979 

  • Estève, oeuvres 1950 - 1980, Musée Cantini, Marseille, 1981 

  • Estève, oeuvres 1919 - 1985, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 1986 

  • Estève, oeuvres 1919 - 1985, Fondation Sonja Henie - Niels Onstad, Hövikodden (Norvège), 1987 

  • Estève, oeuvres 1919 - 1985, Kunsthalle, Tübingen (Allemagne), 1987


Bula (partial)



Gerhard Richter

Two of the rare works by Gerhard Richter will also be featured in the sale. Known for his exceptional use of colors and blending techniques, the artist often gave room to subtle shifts of color, like the two present lots.


Lot 127 | Gerhard Richter (B. 1932) Flow (P15)

Chromogenic print on aluminium, numbered 337/500 and marked with stamp Heni Productions 2016 on reverse

Painted in 2016

100 x 200 cm


  • Éditions d’art, Fondation Beyeler, Suisse 

  • Collection privée, région Lyonnaise depuis 2017

Estimate: €12,000 - 18,000


Lot 128 | Gerhard Richter (B. 1932), Flow (P15)

Chromogenic print on aluminium, numbered 337/500 and marked with stamp Heni Productions 2016 on reverse

Painted in 2016

100 x 200 cm


  • Éditions d'art, Fondation Beyeler, Suisse 

  • Collection privée, région Lyonnaise depuis 2017

Estimate: €12,000 - 18,000


Aguttes Neuilly 

Public viewing: 

December 9-11, 2020 |10am - 1pm;2pm - 6pm (GMT+1)

December 14, 2020|10am - 12pm (GMT+1)


Venue: 164 bis avenue Charles de Gaulle, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Date: December 14, 2020 | 2:30pm (GMT+1) / 11pm (GMT+8)

Time: 2:30pm (GMT+1)


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Ophélie Guillerot, Contemporary Art Department Manager and Specialist | + 33 (0)1 47 45 93 02


About Aguttes Auction

Aguttes is the fourth largest French auction house and the largest independent one, with no outside shareholders. Founded by Claude Aguttes in 1974 and now run by two of his daughters—Philippine Dupré la Tour and Charlotte Reynier-Aguttes—the auction house is a team of 60 talented individuals. The French House passed the symbolic €50-million auction milestone in 2018 - a result never before achieved by an independent auction house in France. In 2019, Aguttes totalled €66 million.

With an international saleroom located in western Paris and representative offices in Brussels, Lyon and Aix-en-Provence, Aguttes stands out for its personalized service and responsiveness. The auction house is positioned on the valuation and auction of exceptional works and major French collections. In 2019, thanks to its international buyers (who amount to 70% of all buyers), it has held 76 auctions above €100,000, which includes four sales of million-euro lots, and brought about 15 world records.

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