Brazil’s New Collectors Can Afford the Best Works in the World but Prefer Collecting as a Calling

Andrea e José Olympio Pereira
Andrea and José Olympio Pereira

The Financial Times looks at three Brazilian collectors with very different strategies, including focusing on the country’s own rich history of art:

Though today Brazil’s wealthy can afford as much art as European or New York buyers, collectors prefer to treat art as a higher calling rather than an investment, frowning upon speculative buying. They value the history of Brazilian and Latin American art, but also battle import taxes and bureaucracy to add North American and European works to their homes, offices, storage and exhibition spaces. […]

José Olympio Pereira, president and chief executive of Credit Suisse Brazil and his wife Andrea have hundreds of works spread throughout three homes and the Credit Suisse Rio and São Paulo branches. He took an early interest in works from the concrete and neo-concrete movements — both strong in Brazil — before moving on to contemporary masters such as Tunga and Cildo Meireles. The couple were early investors in Beatriz Milhazes’ work, now one of the most expensive artists on the contemporary Brazilian market.

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Sotheby’s Mod & Cont Southeast Asian Art = 63m HKD ($8.1m)


Sotheby’s day sale of Southeast Asian art was a surprising success at 63m HKD. The bulk of the top ten lots were sold substantial multiples of their high estimates suggesting the market has a great deal of un-anticipated demand. At 63m, the sale was equal the Fine Chinese Painting sale that took place in the same cycle.

Al Taubman Rarely Bought at the Top

Mark Rothko, No. 6 / Sienna, Orange on Wine, 1962, Estimate $20-30 million

Colin Gleadell tells a bit of the back story behind Alfred Taubman’s collection. Taubman was a marketer at heart. One of his main concerns was getting buyers through the door—he called it “threshold resistance”—but in his own buying, Taubman showed a level of caution:

One of the most significant, in terms of his impact on the art market, is a painting of the Moulin Rouge clown, Cha-U-Kao, by Toulouse-Lautrec that he bought at the Florence Gould sale in 1985. This sale was the first really heavily marketed sale of the modern era; Sotheby’s spent more than $1 million promoting it and entertaining wealthy potential customers who were not used to buying at auction. Among the most successful lots was the Lautrec, estimated at $1 million, but for which Taubman paid $5.3 million – a record at the time. Its new estimate is $12-18 million.

In general, though, Taubman was quite circumspect about the prices he paid, rarely exceeding the high estimate at auction and often paying less. A 1937 portrait of Dora Maar by Picasso was bought at the Gianni Versace sale in London in 1999 for £3 million ($4.9 million), well below the £4-6 million estimate. It is now estimated at $25-35 million.

Art Sales: Alfred Taubman collection at Sotheby’s  (Telegraph)

ArtList’s 5 Art World Updates: National Gallery Reacts to Protests & Paris, Amsterdam to Share Rembrandts

Weekly post from ArtList, the online marketplace for private sales.

1. Details for Manifesta 2016 Revealed

The 11th edition of Manifesta, the traveling, European biennial of contemporary art, is set to open next June in Zurich. This week more details emerged regarding the unconventional event, which will open for 100 days under the curation of artist Christian Jankowski.

Biennial-goers at the 2014 Manifesta in St. Petersburg (Blouin Artinfo)

The 2016 Manifesta is titled, “What People Do For Money: Some Joint Ventures,” and will feature 35 artistic commissions throughout the city. However, Jankowski wanted the commissions to truly engage with the host city and involve the population there. As a result, each selected artist has received a list of all professions in Zurich and was asked to choose from that list one field in which he or she must find a host willing to take part in an artistic collaboration. So come next June, we can look forward to collaborations between the likes of artist John Arnold and Michelin-starred chef Fabian Spiquel, who will be working together to dishes served at state banquets.

2. MacArthur “Geniuses” Announced

This week the John D. and Catherine T .MacArthur Foundation announced the winners for its 2015 “Genius Grants.” Among this year’s 24 honorees are painter Nicole Eisenman and photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier, who, at 33, is one of the younger recipients this year, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Frazier’s 2005 photograph Grandma Ruby and Me (left) and Eisenman’s 2013 painting Ariana’s Salon (Brooklyn Museum, Anton Kern Gallery)

The foundation annually recognizes cultural figures “who have shown evidence of exceptional creativity but show the potential for more in the future.” Winners will receive a $625,000 stipend to spend as they see fit. While Frazier was selected for her moving, photographic coverage of the economic decline of her hometown, Braddock, Pennsylvania, Eisenman was recognized for “restoring the representation of the human form a cultural significance that had waned during the ascendancy of abstraction in the 20th century.”

3. National Gallery to Keep Free Admission, Despite Effects of Prolonged Protests

Since August 11, the employees of London’s National Gallery have been demonstrating against the museum’s move to outsource its warding staff to a private security firm. The move caused workers’ to fear cuts in overtime pay or even the loss of their jobs. And the National Gallery is definitely feeling the effects of the prolonged disagreement.

Workers on strike outside of the National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square (The Art Newspaper)

The protests have forced the institution to close half of its gallery rooms during the summer peak of its tourism season and caused an estimated 35% reduction in visitors. Business has been tough for the London museum, which is also preparing for reductions in its annual government grant. However, the Gallery’s director, Gabriele Finaldi, who began on August 17th (6 days after the protests started), pledged this week that the museum will remain free to the public. “Free admission is in the DNA of the National Gallery, and it is what it is admired and loved for,” said Finaldi, who previously served as the deputy director of Madrid’s Prado museum.

4. Louvre, Rijksmuseum to Share Rembrandt Portraits

In a collaborative agreement between the Dutch and French cultural ministers, Paris’ Louvre and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will jointly acquireRembrandt’s Portrait of Marten Soolmans and Portrait of Oopjen Coppit, Wife of Marten Soolmans.

Portrait of Oopjen Coppit, Wife of Marten Soolmans (top) and Portrait of Marten Soolmans (artnet News)

The €160 million cost for the two prenuptial portraits, both executed in 1634, will be split evenly between the two countries and the works will alternate between the countries’ museums. The deal was struck after the Netherlands’ cultural ministry revealed it had raised enough funds to purchase both paintings, threatening to take the portraits out of France, where they had been part of the private collection of Éric de Rothschild. However, the new agreement will allow a larger, more international audience the chance to glimpse the works, which were owned privately for the last 400 years and only began to be exhibited publicly 150 years ago.

5. Dia Refocuses, Cancels Plans for New Building

A year into her tenure as head of the Dia Art Foundation, Jessica Morganhas announced that the organization will not move ahead with plans to construct a new Chelsea facility. The plans were announced by her predecessor, Philippe Vergne.

Inside Dia’s recent “Dream House” exhibition (The Art Newspaper)

Instead, Morgan, formerly a curator at the Tate Modern, hopes to revitalize the Chelsea space, which was not used for exhibitions for years prior Morgan’s appointment, through curatorial choices. After relaunching the “Dream House” exhibition this summer, Morgan now aims to “be programming constantly in Chelsea again…” Next up will be a survey of works from Robert Ryman, after which exhibitions will shift toward a more contemporary focus, though the artists to be featured have not yet been selected. The Dia Foundation also made news this week when it announced that James Meyer, currently the National Gallery’s associate curator, will join the organization as deputy director and chief curator, effective in January.

Art Star Jonas Wood Calls the Shots

Jonas Wood, Studio Hallway (70-90k) 365k GBP
Jonas Wood, Studio Hallway (70-90k) 365k GBP

There are all sorts of wrinkles and trends in the art market. Kenny Schachter reveals the potential for yet another when he tells us that artist Jonas Wood seems to be working with Gagosian Gallery but very much on his own terms:

Jonas Wood (b. 1977) continues his upward trajectory ahead of his monstrously anticipated Gagosian show (in terms of its market) where he allegedly won’t give Larry G. access to the works, not only prior to the opening, but even a week after, till the artist get’s the lay of the land on demand.

Holding the behemoth at bay is a huge act of not so much market resistance than savvy. A canvas bearing his lushly painted potted plants from 2007 made $100,000 (est. $40-$60,000).

Kenny Schachter Lays Bare the New London Auction Season—Who’s Up, Who’s Down (Artnet)

What’s a Price for Allan Kaprow? Turns Out, A Lot

Allan, Kaprow, Hysteria (5-7k) 140,500 GBP
Allan, Kaprow, Hysteria (5-7k) 140,500 GBP
Allan Kaprow, Tobacco King (2-3k) 86,500 GBP
Allan Kaprow, Tobacco King (2-3k) 86,500 GBP









Colin Gleadell gives us the back story on two Allan Kaprow paintings that were the surprise hits in last month’s Christie’s First Open sale:

There are not too many examples of the work of American artist Allan Kaprow at auction. Born in 1927, he started as a painter in the 1950s but by 1958 was a fully committed performance artist – the originator of Happenings. So two early paintings from 1956 that were offered by Christie’s last week were estimated at £2,000 and £5,000, without much knowledge of real market value. They had come from the highly esteemed collection of Hubert Peeters, one of the first collectors of American pop art and prefigured Kaprow’s performance art in their gestural immediacy. One, called Hysteria, is a large collage of silver foil and fabric with the phrase “Ha Ha” scribbled all over it. It sold for £140,000. Another small collage by Kaprow, Tobacco King, sold for £86,500, 25 times its estimate. For further insights into the Kaprow market visit Frieze Masters and Hauser & Wirth which handles the artist’s estate (he died in 2006), and will recreate a Kaprow performance later next month at the FIAC fair in Paris.

Market News: redressing the gender imbalance (Telegraph)

Lawyers Fight Freedman Case Ahead of Court

Ann Freedman

The lawyers in the Ann Freedman case cannot wait until they get into a courtroom to have it out. In response to our posting of John Cahill’s comment, Ann Freedman’s lawyer, Luke Nikas sent us this comment:

“The criminals who committed these crimes have been charged.  Ann Freedman is not one of them.  The discovery in these cases has yielded tens of thousands of pages of documents.  Not one proves that Ann Freedman knew these works were forgeries.  It is the plaintiffs’ self-serving fairy tale that has allowed the case to continue for this long, but a trial will finally show the truth:  plaintiffs just want to print money (their lawsuits request three times more than what they paid for the art), and Ann Freedman just wants justice.”

Hong Kong Breathes Sigh of Relief After First Weekend of Sales Shows Solid Results

Kusama, No. 19 (700-900k) 1.6m HKD
Kusama, No. 19 (700-900k) 1.6m HKD

You can almost hear the anxiety in the South China Morning Post’s copy as it observes the relatively strong sales of Asian Modern and Contemporary art from the weekend:

Despite some concerns that China’s economic slowdown would lend a subdued air to Hong Kong auction rooms this month, results from the first few days of sales suggest the art market remains fairly resilient.

Sotheby’s modern and contemporary Asian art evening sale is one of the highlights of each auction season and this year’s sale, held on October 4, saw buyers snap up art worth HK$596 million,  including fees. That was down only slightly on proceeds from the same sale a year ago – which fetched HK$615 million, albeit from fewer lots; this may be a reflection of collectors’ reluctance to part with top items amid today’s economic downturn. Still, this year’s total beat the pre-sale estimate of HK$420 million, even when discounting the fees, of 12 to 25 per cent, that the latter figure did not include.

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Buying Art May Be an Alternative to Stuffing Cash in a Mattress for the World’s Wealthiest

Below is a small part of a long argument I make on Quartz this morning in advance of the Autumn art market. The art market could soften substantially this Fall and we would still be in the midst of a huge global market for art:

There are some very good reasons to believe that there have been important changes in the art market that reflect some broader changes in the global economy. I’d like to suggest that one of the reasons art has become more and more valuable over the last decade and a half—but has accelerated even more rapidly in the years since the credit crisis—is that art is now viewed by the very rich as an alternative currency.

In monetary terms, a reserve currency is money that gives you easier access to the dominant economy. Throughout history, the hegemonic power has seen its currency become the favored medium of exchange. Those who are not residents of the dominant power also acquire and hold its currency to be sure they can gain access to goods and services they might not be able to obtain with their own weaker currencies. For much of the 20th century, the US dollar has filled the role of the world’s reserve currency. Before that, it was the British pound and at times the Euro and the Yen have both functioned in the same way. Citizens of nations all over the world hold dollars because the value the dollar is considered stable and safe.

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Sotheby’s Hong Kong Modern & Cont Asian Art Evening Sale = 595m HKD ($76.8m)