AFP reports that Swiss prosecutors have revealed that Syrian cultural relics stored in the Geneva Freeport since 2009-2010 were discovered three years ago. The announcement is another step in the Geneva Free Port’s efforts to show compliance and transparency in the trans-shipment facility:Continue Reading
In one of the more curious announcements in the art world, Israeli art investment vehicle, Artist Pension Trust and its companion company, art information provider, Mutual Art, have announced a merger.
What the combined companies can do together that they could not do apart is not readily apparent. Nor is there an obvious business model for either company as a separate entity or combined
Melanie Gerlis got the news first in the Financial Times:Continue Reading
Sotheby’s has announced another acquisition in its portfolio of service providers to owners of art:
Sotheby’s is delighted to announce the establishment of a Scientific Research Department led by renowned scientist James Martin, who will join Sotheby’s this week following the acquisition of his firm, Orion Analytical.
Villa Grisebach held an evening sale of 20th Century art on December 1, 2016 that totaled nearly €22m, a record sale for the Berlin auction house. Here’s the company’s take on the sale:Continue Reading
Robin Pogrebin asked ArtBasel’s management about the VIP Vernissage attendance and they confirmed that the numbers were off a substantial 9.4%. That’s pretty big news. With further reports of hotels slashing their rates and vacancies, the visitor numbers for the public access to the fair may be well off the past numbers too.
Pogrebin summarized the welter of causes assumed to account for the drop:
The reason, many agreed, had to do with several factors: fear of the Zika virus, a tentativeness in the art market around the presidential election and too many art fairs. But the result was a general sense of relief — turmoil in the world has winnowed out some of the dabblers, and purchases are more deliberative.
Nonetheless, reported sales remained relatively strong—though with private sales there is no reliable information to go by—which bolster’s Pogrebin’s point about the art market. It remains dependent upon a relatively small group of buyers. Does that mean the art market is better off when the less committed don’t show up? Or do buyers need the audience to validate their purchases?Continue Reading
Colin Gleadell takes a close look at the unexpected strength of the British paintings market. Although he mentions the somewhat unrelated but still telling success of David Bowie’s art collection which was focused on Modern British painters, Gleadell here is just looking at the regular London sales cycle.
Adding in the white-glove Bowie sale would only improve these impressive numbers. The entire Bowie collection sold for nearly £33m or the pre-sale high estimate of the eight other sales held in the category:
Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams presented eight sales between them with 762 lots ranging in value from a few hundred pounds to over £1 million per lot. The pre-sale estimate was between £23 million and £33 million. By the end of the week, 628 – or 82.4 per cent – of lots had been sold, for a total of £35.7 million.
Dealer Daniel Katz paid £3.75 million, six times the estimate, for a large, lyrical abstraction by Ben Nicholson for his private collection.
The Ben Nicholson market is now reclaiming its position on the leader board for Modern British art which it once occupied but had seemingly lost to Barbara Hepworth and others.