Beloved French Film Star Alain Delon’s Art Collection Fetched $8.8 Million at a Paris Auction, Doubling Its Low Estimate


Bonhams Paris offered the art collection of iconic French actor Alain Delon in an auction that more than doubled its presale low estimate to total $8.8 million. All but two of 83 lots in the June 22 sale found buyers.

The top lot was a painting by Raoul Dufy, The Bay at Sainte-Adresse (1906), showing people strolling in the main seaside resort in Le Havre. It soared past a low estimate of about $657,000 to sell for $1.1 million. The second-highest was a Eugène Delacroix canvas, Arab Horse Tied to a Stake (1825), which more than doubled its low estimate of about $329,000 to bring about $849,000.

Eugène Delacroix, Arab Horse Tied to a Stake (1825). Courtesy of Bonhams.

“There are two things I regard as my legacy; my acting career and my art collection,” said Delon in a statement. “I am so proud of them both. I bought my first drawing in London when I was 24 and I’ve acquired works ever since. People ask me if there is a thread that binds these pieces together and I say ‘C’est moi!’”

Delon has been acting since the 1960s, appearing in films like Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Le Samouraï (1967), and Mr. Klein (1976). He won the César Award for best actor, the French equivalent of an Oscar, for his work in Notre Histoire (1984). He worked with leading directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, Louis Malle, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Luchino Visconti. 

Albert Gleizes, <em>Countryside</em> (1914–1915). Courtesy of Bonhams.

Albert Gleizes, (1914–1915). Courtesy of Bonhams.

In the sale, a Domenico Beccafumi drawing tripled its high estimate of about $88,000, selling for about $265,000. The two-sided sheet shows Saint Anthony on one side and Saint George slaying a dragon on the other. Other top-selling lots included works by Albert Gleizes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, and Jean-François Millet. Delon collected in a range of styles and mediums, including naturalistic bronze statuettes of animals by Bugatti, a Cubist landscape by Gleizes, and the Renaissance drawing by Beccafumi.

“Alain Delon’s collection, which was admired from Hong Kong to New York to Paris, was an unprecedented success, fetching €8 million, more than twice its low estimate,” said Arnaud Cornette de Saint Cyr, president of Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr, based in Paris. “Alain Delon is a living legend of the cinema. His taste and eye have been acclaimed the world over.”


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