BULLETIN N°1 – 2020, october



The first appearance of a VITALIS painting in the auction room (according to the databases available on the internet) dates back to July 3, 1987, in the famous Christie’s house in London. But the sale will fail (a still life representing a bouquet of flowers painted in 1938). A year later, in June 1988, a 1924 painting (therefore from the American period of VITALIS, which we do not know – image not available) was put up for sale in another famous auction house, Sotheby’s de New. -York. Again without success. Note that VITALIS was still alive at these two times. During the 1990s and 2000s, presentations and sales of VITALIS paintings were sporadic (1 to 7 paintings per year), without much price hype. The year 2012 arrives, during which 18 paintings were presented for sale, for a total of 22,000 euros. Especially in 2013, the tipping point: the 21 paintings presented are sold for a total sum of 144,000 euros. Since then, 20 to 35 paintings have been offered per year in auction houses around the world. Thus, from 1991 to April 2020 (last sales date examined), 261 VITALIS paintings were presented in the auction room and their sale generated the sum of 1.020 million euros! Anglo-Saxon, German, Dutch or Belgian houses offer VITALIS, but the “VITALIS market” is dominated by Filipino and French auction houses, and more particularly three of them: the Leon Gallery in Makati City (town near Manila), ADER & Nordman in Paris and Salcedo Auction in Makati City.


The value of an array is commonly expressed in “point”. This is an accepted measure for appreciating an artist’s market, especially during his lifetime. But this is not a panacea: the quality of the work, its theme, its period, are equally essential aspects.

The annual average cost of the point for VITALIS tables sold in the auction house is presented in the tables in the appendix. Between 1991 and 1999, the value of the VITALIS point averaged 76 euros. From 2000 to 2012, the average point value was 170 euros. From 2013 to today, the average point value for a VITALIS array is 550 euros! Besides the artistic value of the works of VITALIS, the phenomenon would be linked to the enthusiasm of two rich Filipinos who wish to buy all the VITALIS that present themselves. By way of illustration, the ten VITALIS paintings offered by the Adjug’Art auction house in Brest in December 2019 were acquired by a single Filipino person, for the tidy sum of 73,000 euros.

HOMEWORKS – 1950 : sold 37.642 euros on September, 28, 2013 by Le’on Gallery (Manilla)

This is a good size painting (63 cm high x 80 cm wide), an oil on cardboard. The blue of the table is dazzling, it combines with the green around it, when mom’s red dress highlights the studious student in the foreground. Take a good look: the VITALIS signature is hung on the top right corner of the table… This painting has been presented for sale twice: on April 6, 2013, it was sold in Drouot by ADER at a price of 4,000 euros. Only five months later, the Leon Gallery sells it for 37,600 euros.

AMAZONS – 1960 : sold 35.392 euros on March 22, 2014 by Le’on Gallery (Manilla)

The painting was only offered for sale once, and its price soared: estimated at 10,000 USD, it sold for 49,000 USD! Once again, it was in the Philippines at the Leon Gallery that this record sale took place. It is a large painting (97 cm high and 1.52 m wide). It is not signed, only dated ’60, but it is unmistakably the style of VITALIS.

HUNTING DOGS IN AN INTERIOR – 1939 : sold 30.000 euros on July 1st, 2015 by Boisgirard-Antonini (Paris)

It’s an amazing picture in many ways. It surprises with its style, classic and figurative: the Montmartre-École de Paris style. The theme is just as confusing: eleven hunting dogs in a living room. This is not trivial. And finally its story: this painting was found on the sidewalk of a street in Paris. The lucky discoverer went to have it appraised in a auction house around Drouot. He spoke to a Perrosienne, a specialist from the Paris School, who immediately recognized a VITALIS and hastened to buy it! Estimated at 3,000 euros, it went ten times more expensive, at 30,000 euros! Never throw away your VITALIS !

A MARINA – 1969 : sold 28.624 euros on September 29, 2014 by Le’on Gallery (Manilla)

As shown above, this is a very large painting, produced in 1969. Once again, VITALIS shows itself to be a master in exploiting the color yellow. The title, “a marina”, surprises because the painting seems rather to represent an assembly of characters. I could not find another translation, even in a religious sense. If you have any ideas …

SUNRISE ON THE PORT – 1954 : sold 22.000 euros on December 11, 2013 by ADER & Nordman (Paris)

This is a good-sized painting (73 cm high x 92 cm wide), an oil on canvas, signed and dated ‘54. When I told you about VITALIS yellow, right? We are here faced with a cubist and impressionist painting at the same time. And the title is indisputable this time.