Kour Pour’s Market Sourced Images Make an Impression on the Market

Kour Pour, Future Buddha

The artist Kour Pour isn’t afraid to trade upon his new-found fame for market success. That might be because some of his best known works had their images source from the market in the first place:

“I was thinking about the carpet and its role in the world as an object of craft—people weaving in a community, the history, the patterns, the figures, and even its place as a commodity being traded,” he says. “[Carpets] are also an iconic image that everyone recognizes, so I was attracted to it for those reasons and personal ones.”

Thanks to the power of Instagram, sold-out shows at New York’s Untitled gallery and Dublin’s Ellis King, and Pour’s relationship with the controversial art dealer Stefan Simchowitz, his works have become hotly traded commodities in their own right. “It’s the cycle that I’m interested in,” says Pour. “For the early paintings I made, I would find the images from Sotheby’s catalogues, and now those paintings are starting to show up at auction, so that carpet has gone from being a real carpet to a photograph to a painting back to a photograph, and now it’s in a contemporary art sale. Things transform over time; they become new things with different meanings.”

Kour Pour’s First Solo Exhibition Opens  (Architectural Digest)

Indian Art Market Gains Confidence Amid Fair

India Art Fair

The India Art Fair is in full swing through the weekend and there’s talk of confidence returning to the Indian art market:

“A few years ago, you know, there was concern in the market, but now steadily things have been rising,” Parul Vadehra, director of the Vadehra Art Gallery, said of the market’s slump after the 2008 global economic crisis.

“With prices rising in the market, obviously that creates a lot of confidence among the collectors and the galleries as well as the artists,” Vadehra said.

Steel elephant, graffiti mural loom over India’s art fair  (Daily Mail Online)

Five (Literally) Moving Pieces at the India Art Fair  (India Real Time /WSJ)

Salisbury Stakes: Stirring the Pot on a Lost Constable

Constable, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (5.2m USD)
Constable, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (5.2m USD)


James Tarmy has a little too much fun winding up  Christie’s and Sotheby’s over the cleaned and restored Constable that was purchased at a Christie’s sale of English aristocrats household effects and was eventually cleaned and discovered to be a Constable attracting bidders to $5.2m:

Bidding for the painting began slowly—it started at $1 million and went upward in $100,000 increments—but the pace picked up when two anonymous phone bidders faced off, driving the price well past its presale estimate of $2 million to $3 million. By the time it hit $4 million the room had become totally silent, and it was then that one untraceable male voice in the back muttered, “Someone at Christie’s is going to get fired.”

Normally, when a painting does well at Sotheby’s, the only reaction from its archrival Christie’s is off-the-record disdain (or at most, professional jealousy for missing out on the consignment in the first place). In the case of the Constable, titled Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, the problem for Christie’s is that it had in fact been consigned to them just two years ago. And they’d sold it, too … for just $5,212, or approximately 57,559 percent less than Sotheby’s presale high estimate.

The Secret to Getting a 99,766 Percent Return in the Art Market  (Bloomberg Business)

Christie’s Old Masters = $9.4m

Lazarides Makes Bank on Banksy

Banksy, Sale Ends (28,489 USD)

Steve Lazarides grossed nearly $700,000 for the trove of Banksy works he sold in London this week. Bloomberg Business has details on some of the 31 works that found buyers:

Bonhams London auctioned off 33 works by the pseudo-anonymous, British graffiti artist, including a stencil on canvas called Precision Bombing that depicts figures in black in the path of a gun sight. The work has been bought and sold a whopping seven times since its creation in 2000. It sold just now for £40,000 (approx $60,000)—£10,000 above its high estimate of £30,000. Meanwhile, Silver Flag took in only $5,317.

You Can Own a Banksy for Only $5,317  (Bloomberg Business)

Surrealism Past Its Peak?

AMR on Surrealism

The somewhat secretive art market index maker, Art Market Research, has published a chart via Twitter of four Surrealist painters. The basis for the index isn’t explained but the chart suggests the price rise for Surrealist works took place from late 2011 to mid-2014. Whether the declines here are indicative of next week’s sales in London remains to be seen.

Christie’s Renaissance Sale = $15.77m

Sotheby’s Raises Commission to 25% Up to $200k


In case you missed it in the blizzard preparation, Sotheby’s raised the lower limit on its commission structure:

The first change in Sotheby’s rate structure in nearly two years means that beginning Feb. 1 buyers at its auctions will pay 25 percent on the first $200,000 of a hammer price, up from a previous low threshold of $100,000; 20 percent on the value between $200,000 and $3 million, up from the previous range of $100,000 to $2 million; and 12 percent on any amount remaining above $3 million, up from the previous upper threshold of $2 million.

Sotheby’s Raises Its Rates for Buyers – NYTimes.com.

China Cracks Down on Using Art for Corruption


China is getting serious about cracking down on abuses in the art market. One of the government’s official outlets has this story railing against corrupt officials who peddle their works of calligraphy to disguise bribes:

Hu Zhangqing, former deputy governor of southeast Jiangxi Province, was executed in March 2000 on a charge of corruption. In 1998, Hu’s works of calligraphy were sold in the price range between 3,000 yuan and 6,000 yuan (about US$480 to US$961). One of his calligraphy works even had a price tag of 90,000 yuan (about US$14,425), reported state-run People’s Daily on October 2014.

In 2010, during the trial of Wen Qiang, former deputy chief of police in Chongqing in the southwest, one of the biggest debates was over the authenticity of one of the paintings in his possession—said to be the work of Zhang Daqian, considered one of the extraordinary Chinese artists of the twentieth century. If it were authentic, the painting would fetch a market price of 3.64 million yuan (about US$583 thousand)

Later, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage determined the painting was a forgery. As it turns out, the controversy over this painting was the least of Wen’s problems. He was eventually given a death sentence on a variety of charges including rape and protecting organized crime.

Officials for Sale in China’s Art Market (The Epoch Times)

Outsider Art Attracts Curators, Will Collectors Follow?

Henry Darger, Are Seized by Pursueing [sic] Glandelinians, n.d. Carbon transfer and watercolor on paper. 19 x 48 ins. Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery.
Henry Darger, Are Seized by Pursueing [sic] Glandelinians, n.d. Carbon transfer and watercolor on paper. 19 x 48 ins. Courtesy Carl Hammer Gallery.

Christie’s was supposed to hold a panel discussion last night about the burgeoning market for Outsider art. The panel was sponsored by the Outsider Art Fair but one of the strengths of Outsider art is its confluence with Contemporary art. Painters like Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was self-taught, fit into the strict definition of the field. But curators are also reaching beyond conventional understandings of Contemporary art to include more works that would be considered Outsider:

When curator Massimiliano Gioni appropriated the utopian concept of self-taught artist Marino Auriti’s Palazzo Enciclopedico — a panoptic, non-elitist examination of international art practice — for the 55th Venice Biennale, viewers thrilled to the presentation of so-called outsider artists, those who make work without the training of the art-school system, alongside known market stars, most of whom flaunt fine-art degrees.

Two years later, Gioni’s implementation of Auriti’s vision is regularly being traced as the spark for the current interest in a (sometimes eschewed) genre that has been quietly championed by a loyal following for better part of the 20th century.

In addition to the breakout in Venice, the Philadelphia Museum of Art mounted Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection in the spring of 2013, while currently, curator Lynne Cooke of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is organising a yet-to-be-named exhibition, examining the relationship between self-taught art and modern and contemporary work.

The lock, however, might be the gift of 57 works of outsider art made by the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation last November to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, considered to be perhaps the ultimate encyclopedic collection of global art work.

The Outside Breaks In (Christie’s)