Karel Appel’s Foundation Helps Get Market Traction

Karel Appel, Meeting in Space (120-180k) 207k EUR
Karel Appel, Meeting in Space (120-180k) 207k EUR Sold at Sotheby’s Paris in June 2015

Karel Appel has a retrospective opening at the Gemeentemuseum in the Netherlands which is part of a broader attempt to re-establish the artist that has been going on for some time. Appel has been whispered to be the next artist to be re-discovered for some time.

There have been fits and starts but Franz Kaiser’s retrospective is possibly the most substantial effort:

Now, thanks largely to the Karel Appel Foundation, established in Amsterdam in 1999 by Appel, Mr. Kaiser and others, Appel’s art has returned to the public eye and research supported by the foundation has introduced new ways of thinking about the artist. That research informs the Gemeentemuseum retrospective, part of a surprisingly fertile run of Appel exhibitions that started in New York in 2014 with a show at the gallery Blum & Poe. […]

The Blum & Poe shows did not sell out […] but a few key works sold for strong prices, including two works from Appel’s CoBrA period, “Square Cat” (1951), which sold for $730,000, and “Homme et Femme” (1952), which brought about $770,000.

Similar prices have been achieved for Appel at auction. In December, Sotheby’s in Paris sold a 1961 painting for €465,000, about $510,000, more than doubling its presale estimate of €150,000 to €200,000.

Shedding New Light on the Late Dutch Artist Karel Appel  (The New York Times)

For Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Gestures Speak Louder Than the Market

Garber exhibit
If Aaron Garber-Maikovska, the multi-media artist who had a breakout year in 2015, has a signal trait that has won over curators and collectors alike, it is his sincerity. “I have never seen an artist who has such enthusiastic responses to studio visits,” says his gallerist, Rob Greene.

At any time, Garber-Maikovska’s brief market run—his works first sold publicly in late 2014 before running up to $87,500 at Phillips and $97,500 at Sotheby’s in New York this last November—would provoke interest, admiration and suspicion in equal parts. But coming on the heels of a broad market run of abstract artists who have been seen as cynically shaping their production toward market tastes, the artist’s success with collectors has been even more remarkable.

“I first heard of him from a European collector,” says Artlist’s Astrid de Maismont who has sold several works by Garber-Maikovska watching as last Summer’s lull in interest for emerging artists gave way to a resurgence this Fall. de Maismont took her cues on the artist from that collector whom she describes as, “someone really off the radar with a great collection from Monet to Richter to Wool.”

“His prices haven’t gone cuckoo crazy,” says Kenny Schachter, the collector and chronicler of the art market, who says Garber-Maikovska is different from the waning Zombie Formalists. “He seems to be a young person on the move.”

“His work is something to live with and not worry about because the quality is so apparent,” says Schachter who bought one of Garber-Maikovska’s works from a friend and promptly put it in storage. “I find the work is just a lot more appealing. His work seems to have a voice that distinguishes itself from its peers. Zombies are supposed to live forever but they died.”

Whether Garber-Maikovska’s market can take on a life of its own remains to be seen. But this week will be a big test as four different works appear in the London Contemporary art day sales. There’s one at Sotheby’s, one at Phillips, and two at Christie’s (a black-and-white work and one in color.) Is there enough demand to place all of these works—and at the price level he so recently achieved?Continue Reading

There’s More Where Last Week’s Record Ferrari Came From

Robert Frank tells the story behind last week’s record-making Ferrari sale. For Frank, it’s part of a broader tax valuation case in France,

Pierre Bardinon, born in 1931, was an heir to the Chapal family, a French leather and fur dynasty famed for making pilot bomber jackets. As a boy, Bardinon fell in love with cars and started buying old racing Ferraris in the 1960s, when few other collectors were interested in them. He went on to buy more than 70 rare Ferraris.

He turned the family chateau at Mas du Clos, near Aubusson, into a Ferrari playground, with a museum housing the cars, and a two-mile racetrack. […]

The Ferrari collection had dwindled to around 20 cars by 2012, as Mr. Bardinon sold them off. Yet their value has soared. […] Marcel Massini, a Geneva-based Ferrari historian who knew Mr. Bardinon and frequently inspected the collection, said the remaining cars in the Bardinon collection could be worth over $200 million. He said at least three of them could fetch over $30 million each in today’s market.

“These are like the Mona Lisas of the Ferrari world,” he said. “They are the best of the best.”

Revaluing Family Treasures for the Taxman (The New York Times)

Forensic Accoutant Testifies Knoedler Depended Upon Fakes for Profits

Knoedler & Company's gallery at 556 Fifth Avenue in the 1910s.
Knoedler & Company’s gallery at 556 Fifth Avenue in the 1910s.

It’s not clear whether the forensic accountant’s testimony on Friday contributed to Ann Freedman’s decision to settle her part of the de Sole case, but the testimony did have impact. Knoedler’s lawyers blithely suggest that Freedman and the gallery would simply have sold other works had they not sold the Rosales fakes.

In the art market, access to good work to sell is one of the most important assets a gallery can have. The lack of better sources of high quality work to sell would seem to be a central issue in the scale of the fraud. Simply put, if Knoedler had access to better work, they surely would have made those sales.

Here’s the New York Times’s take on the testimony:

Without the $32.7 million in net income from the so-called Rosales works, “Knoedler would not have been a profitable enterprise,” Mr. Siefert testified. The gallery’s cumulative deficit for that period would have been about $3 million, he said.

But lawyers for Ms. Freedman and Knoedler challenged his conclusion, suggesting, among other things, that if the gallery had not spent its time selling the Rosales works it would have focused on selling other works that could have made up any deficit.

In Art Forgery Trial, Expert Witness Says Knoedler Gallery Relied on Fakes for Profit  (The New York Times)

Freedman Settles with de Soles But Will Still Testify as Case Goes Forward Against Knoedler et al

Ann Freedman

The prospect of testifying as a witness for the plaintiffs seems to have encouraged Ann Freedman to settle with the de Soles, according to the New York Times:

The case against Ms. Freedman, whose testimony had long been anticipated, is expected to be dismissed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday, said Luke Nikas, a lawyer for Ms. Freedman. But the case against Knoedler, now entering its third week, would continue.

“Ann is pleased to be able to reach this settlement,” said Mr. Nikas. “From the very beginning of these cases, Ann never wanted to keep a penny of the profits she made” from inauthentic works. […]

Mr. Nikas said that he expected Ms. Freedman would still appear as a witness in the case, called by lawyers for the De Soles. He said she would continue to assert that she had believed in the Rosales paintings and would never have sold those works if she had known that they were not genuine.

Knoedler Gallery Director Settles Lawsuit Over Fake Rothko  (The New York Times)

ArtList’s 3 Must See Shows: New Exhibits of Hiroshi Sugimoto & Richard Aldrich

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

1. Hiroshi Sugimoto @ Pace Gallery
February 5 — March 5

“Accelerated Buddha,” 1997 (Pace Gallery)

Pace’s new showcase of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography focuses on his “Sea of Buddha” series, forty-eight photos that the artist worked on from 1988 until 1995. The photographs continue Sugimoto’s ongoing investigation into light, history and time — which the artist specifically views as “one of the most abstract concepts human beings have created.” However, the series distinguishes itself from Sugimoto’s oeuvre for its meditation on the purpose and effect of repetition, which, among many implications in his works, often refers to the Buddhist practice of replicating manifestations of a deity in order to achieve spiritual merit. Furthermore, the act of repeating achieves a sort of transcendence as Sugimoto repeats the very act of its examination.

On view at 510 West 25th Street, New York, NY.

2. Richard Aldrich @ Gladstone Gallery
January 29 — March 5

(Gladstone Gallery)

In his new solo exhibition, Richard Aldrich showcases his artistic range with a variety of painted and sculpted works. Through the many media with which he engages, Aldrich aims to examine not a singular system or stylistic progression, but rather how art allows multiple processes to combine and harmonize. Aldrich allows the time and ambiance surrounding the work to seep into this milieu, keeping extra paint or marks that a piece picks up in his studio to stay upon it or allowing a work to stretch under its own weight over time.

On view at 515 24th Street, New York, NY

3. “The Lamp Show” @ 99¢ Plus Gallery
January 29 — April 10

Nick DeMarco’s “Step Lamp,” 2016 (99¢ Plus Gallery)

Featuring work from more than 30 contemporary artists and designers, 99¢ Plus Gallery’s new group show includes a range of objects united by their capacity to illuminate. The pieces test the boundaries of “functionality,” its flexibility and fixity, and “light” itself, for while this objects provide lighting one may refrain from classifying them necessarily as lights. The objects posit whether such qualifications exist naturally within an object or if we ascribe them to a work, as it fits into a larger social schema.

On view at 238 Wilson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.

Sotheby’s Picasso in Private = £12m

Pelham’s Complaint in Picasso Sculpture Case Makes Interesting Reading

The complaint filed yesterday in the Picasso sculpture case makes for interesting reading. Although the complaint calls the price paid by Gagosian in response to the Pelham sale “inflated,” its language does seem to validate the idea that the first sale was below market value. That has to be embarrassing for the defunct partnership Connery, Pissarro and Seydoux, some of the most sophisticated players in the international art market, who represented Maya and Olivier Widmaier Picasso in the deal.

The fact is now clear that a buyer was and is willing to pay much more for the work and CSP were simply unaware of that. It will be very interesting to see how the court rules.

Katya Kazakina added some interesting details about the sculpture to her report, including the existence of another version:

Two casts of “Bust of a Woman” already exist — one bronze, another cement — according to Werner Spies’ catalog of 664 sculptures by Picasso completed between 1902 and 1971. When the plaster bust is deemed sold, it will likely become the most expensive Picasso sculpture to change hands. Today that record rests with the bronze head of a woman that fetched $29.2 million in 2007 at Sotheby’s, according to Artnet.

Picasso Bust Pits Qatar Against Apollo CEO in Ownership Spat (Bloomberg Business)

Flam Says Freedman Didn’t Want to Hear the Truth

Fake Motherwell sold by Rosales through Julian Weismann
A fake Robert Motherwell discredited by Dedalus Foundation

Jay Grimm is an appraiser and he’s been spending time at the de Sole-Freedman trial downtown. He caught Dedalus Foundation head Jack Flam’s testimony on Wednesday about the Robert Motherwell paintings he deemed “looked more like the Elegies than the Elegies themselves.”

According to Grimm’s report, Flam is the first witness to have had a sustained and oppositional relationship with Freedman. He got involved with the Knoedler fakes rather late, long after Freedman had sold numerous works and was deeply invested in her story of David Herbert and his supposed relationship with a collector who lived in Mexico and Switzerland:Continue Reading