Over 300 people gathered last Thursday at the Athenee Palace Hilton to take part in the Artmark auction, the first auction in the past ten years to offer objects directly related to Nicolae Ceausescu’s memory. Several bidders competed for 52 out of the 70 objects on offer, most of which were gifts received by Ceausescu from other heads of state. A bronze statue representing a yak, received in the 1970s from Mao Zedong and meant to symbolize the country’s agricultural wealth, went for EUR 12,000, the record price of this auction.
Other objects once owned by the former dictator which fetched impressive amounts include the pair of gold- and enamel-coated silver turtledoves offered as a state gift by the Shah of Iran, Reza Pehlavi, in 1977, sold for EUR 7,500, the protocol gift six-piece tiger skin, sold for EUR 4,000, the leopard skin, which fetched EUR 3,750, and the Pilot Elite fountain-pen received during his 1975 official visit to Japan, sold for the same amount. Total sales amounted to EUR 53,910.
The second auction, the Avant-garde and Expressionism Auction, tempted art-lovers with a number of exceptional art-works, reporting total sales of EUR 539,545, for 105 works that 100 bidders contended for. The last work on auction, the painting “A Portrait for the Future (The Poet Ion Minulescu)”, by Victor Brauner, fetched the highest price of the evening, EUR 75,000. Nicolae Tonitza’s work“The Bereaved” (The Orphans cycle) was sold for EUR 55,000, nearly four times the starting price. The painting is included in the National Moveable Heritage’s “Treasury” category. Other works sold for considerable sums include the painting “Human Construction”, by Max Herman Maxy, auctioned off for EUR 44,000, and Corneliu Baba’s painting, “Fears”, sold for EUR 32,000. Constantin Brancusi’s drawing, “The Tasselled Hoopoe”, was another work which fetched the highest price estimated, EUR 10,000.