Folio from the Shahnameh or Book of Kings (around 1525-40)
Arts of the Islamic World and India, Sotheby’s, London, 26 October
This illustrated page comes from the Book of Kings, a legendary manuscript made for Shah Tahmasp of Persia (1524-76). The tome, which depicts an epic tenth-century poem telling the history of Persia’s rulers, took two decades to create and drew on some of the greatest artistic talents of its day.
Another folio from the Shahnameh manuscript holds the record price for an Islamic work on paper—£7.4m for Sotheby’s in 2011. It is now in the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Previously, 14 folios from the manuscript were auctioned for an estimated £150,000-£200,000 in 1988 at Christie’s.
This folio is one of the remaining few in private hands. “There are fewer than ten folios still unaccounted for, so whenever one appears on the market it sparks a huge wave of interest among both institutions and private collectors,” says Benedict Carter, the head of Sotheby’s Islamic and Indian art department. “This lot is the work of one of the most famous artists who contributed to the mammoth project: Mirza Ali. It represents the zenith of any collecting category—an artwork of great beauty, rarity and refinement, with a prestigious provenance and in first-rate condition.”
Charlie Le Mindu, Blonde Lips (2010)
Artcurial x Charlie Le Mindu, Artcurial, Paris, 5 October
Best known for featuring in Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ video clip, these famous lips were crafted using natural hair and marked the start of a creative relationship between the American singer and the French designer Charlie Le Mindu.
Trained in a traditional hair salon in Bergerac before entering the world of punk hairdressing and going on to make his mark in haute coiffure, Mindu is offering 21 works from his archive, including one of his earliest works, Grey Skull.
“This sale is more a story of meetings than a real choice of timing,” says Clara Vivien, the fashion and luxury accessories specialist at Artcurial. “Benoît Coffin [the curator of the auction] was one of my clients and he has been friends with Charlie Le Mindu for many years.”
The total presale estimate for the auction is between €612,000 to €744,000.
Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Nu Assis (Jacqueline Barsotti-Goddard) (1929)
Impressionist and ModernArt, Bonhams, London, 12 October
It is the model featured in this delicate drawing that may well draw interest from collectors. Known as the “muse of muses” and a firm favourite on the Surrealist circuit, Jacqueline Barsotti-Goddard features in works by Picasso, Matisse, Giacometti and Man Ray.
The work is one of the largest from Japanese-French painter Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita’s renowned Nude series, and is testament to the friendship struck between the artist and model after meeting in Paris. It arrives at auction from a private French collection, having been acquired the year it was painted from the Colette Weil gallery in Paris.
“The market for Foujita remains very strong, with large oils by the artist particularly highly prized,” says Hannah Noel-Smith, the head of Bonhams’ Impressionist and Modern art department in the UK and Europe.
Collection of meteorites from the Moon, Mars and the asteroid belt
Exhibiting at ArtAncient, Frieze Masters, London, 12-16 October
Estimate: ranging in price from £2,000 to £1.2m
“A few years ago, you never saw such pieces at art fairs, but now people are starting to add them their collections, alongside their more conventional artworks— it’s an exciting time to exhibit this collection,” says Costas Paraskevaides, the director of ArtAncient, the London-based gallery exhibiting 35 meteorites at this year’s Frieze Masters.
The collection has been assembled over several years, with some objects discovered by so-called “adventure-collectors” and nomads, and one that fortuitously landed in someone’s back garden.
ArtAncient’s offer reflects the growing demand for natural history artefacts, and the collection includes a relic containing amino acids, a slice of Mars and a section from the better-known Fukang meteorite, which was discovered in China in 2000.
Boucheron, Belle Époque fob watch (early 20th century)
Fine Jewellery, Fellows Auctioneers, Birmingham, 6 October
This Belle Époque fob watch—made of platinum, gold, blue guilloche enamel and rose-cut diamond—takes centre stage in a Rococo-style 1911 portrait of its owner, Mrs Geoffrey Blackwell, by Philip Wilson Steer, which sold for £74,500 at Christie’s in 2016.
Mrs Blackwell’s husband worked for his family’s business, the British food manufacturing company Crosse and Blackwell, and the couple had a strong passion for collecting. They were regular clients of Agnews Gallery in London, and their five children were sketched by the British artist Henry Tonks. The watch arrives to auction from the family of the sitter, by descent.