CNBC looks at some new proposals made by Massimo Sterpi to help lessen the country’s laws on export of art and antiquities. Pointing to the vibrant health of the market for 20th Century Italian art, critics say the laws that require approval for any work over 50 years of age to be exported whether it qualifies as a “national treasure” or not.
“I have studied the art trade in Europe very closely for the last 15 years, and whenever I’m describing what not to do to have a successful and healthy art market, I use the case of Italy and its regulatory system,” [Clare] McAndrew told CNBC via email.
[Philip] Hoffman said the market for Italian work over 50 years of age currently stood at “practically zero,” with the total Italian market worth just under 390 million euros ($538 million) in 2013. He forecast that the liberalization of export rules could see Italy’s art industry explode to over $10 billion per year [….]
“I’m totally surprised that Italy made so much harm to itself by passing these kind of laws and making everything so complex, rather than being the natural top art market in the world,” Sterpi told CNBC over the phone.
Artnet’s news service discovers the long-standing trend in Picasso’s ceramics. For the sake of the broader art market, it would be gratifying to see the Picasso Ceramics as an alternative to the very high prices in his painting and sculpture market that brings in a different set of collectors. Alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case:
“It is the most important masterpiece collectors in modern and contemporary art who are driving the higher prices you see,” Michelle McMullan, head of sales for Impressionist and modern art at Christie’s, told artnet News over email. “So many of the important collections we see now have ceramics. Someone who is into 1960s Picasso paintings will pair it with a few ceramics [the artist] made on the same day, even.” […]
The buoyancy of Picasso’s ceramics market is partly attributable to the broad global profile of interested buyers, though they tend to be concentrated in the US and Western Europe. The versatility of the objects accentuates their broad appeal. “Collectors of Picasso ceramics are not necessarily collectors of Picasso prints or paintings, but they do tend to be aesthetically oriented and collectors of some sort,” said Lucy Rosenburgh, a specialist in prints and multiples at Sotheby’s London, who says she’s seen beautiful collections of ceramics coexisting harmoniously with extensive art collections in varied media and periods, as well as displayed among trophies, photographs, and other more personal mementos.
Buy, Sell, Hold: Picasso Ceramics (Artnet News)
The FT is asking whether sanctions on wealthy Russians will effect London’s Summer sales of Impresionist, Modern and Russian art:
“London in June will be the one to watch,” said Melanie Gerlis, an editor at The Art Newspaper, an industry publication.
Morton & Eden, specialist London auctioneers, will be selling Russian coins and medals, for which buyers are often Ukrainian.
Russian collectors have been crucial to rising prices, with Christie’s alone reporting that Russian-speaking buyers had spent more than £1bn on works since 2008.
One market observer said it was “too early to tell” whether appetite would be reduced, while another said buyers would be unlikely to pass on works that might not return to auction for several decades.
Ukraine tensions cast shadow over art world (Financial Times)
Mnuchin Gallery is holding a show based upon David Ekserdjian’s Bronze held at the Royal Academy in London in 2012. This version is focused on the 20th Century but no less compelling with a chance to see some exquisite works by Arp, Bourgeois, Calder, de Kooning, Johns, Koons, Laurens, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Naumann, Picasso, Richier, and Smith:
“When we saw the show Bronze at the Royal Academy in London two years ago, we were struck by the breadth of inventiveness and the range of visual effects at play in the five centuries of bronze objects that the show brought together. When we learned the exhibition would not be traveling outside London, we decided that the experience of Bronze was one that New York audiences simply should not miss,” states Owner Robert Mnuchin.
“From the outset, we decided to deepen our investigation into the twentieth century, when bronze was subject to tremendous transformation,” states Partner Sukanya Rajaratnam. “And in the process we made discoveries that suggested how time and time again, this most traditional medium was used in the advancement of modernity.”
To see the Royal Academy version of Bronze, click on the image below:
NPR takes us through the government’s efforts to recover lost works of art made for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project that involved as many as 10,000 artists. Over time, the art was lost or given away as in this story:
Take, for instance, the seascape Gulls at Monhegan, painted by Maine artist Andrew Winter. “It hung in the [American] embassy in Costa Rica for years,” Miller says. “And the ambassador loved it so much that when he left, his staff gave it to him as kind of an unofficial gift. And so it remained in his family and then his granddaughter eventually tried to sell it up in Portland, Maine.”
John Sloan’s New York City street scene, Fourteenth Street at Sixth Avenue, was also recovered by the GSA. It had hung in a U.S. senator’s office and apparently went home with a staffer after that senator’s death.
“It’s a busy street and there’s I guess an [elevated train] that goes over top, and a bustling street with people walking and cars parked and people in all sorts of dress,” Miller says. “And this really captures life in New York City”
The painting — appraised at $750,000 — was recovered in 2003 and is now on loan to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Other pieces have been found at yard sales, antique malls and on eBay. Many are identifiable by tags that say “Federal Arts Program” or “Treasury Department Art Project.”
AIPAD Released sales from this year’s show:
“It was a stunning exhibition of a wide range of photography, and the collectors were passionate, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable,” said Kraige Block, Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, who sold more than 20 works including a platinum print by Tina Modotti.
Robert Mann Gallery, New York, sold 20 works by Jeff Brouws, Julie Blackmon, Maroesjka Lavigne, and others, and commented on the great energy at the show. Terry Etherton, Etherton Gallery, Tucson, said the show was excellent and sold 22 works including a Frederick Sommer print for $40,000.
“The show has never looked better,” said Henry Feldstein of Henry Feldstein, Forest Hills, NY, who sold at least 20 prints by Weegee. “The look of the show was consistently high level. We saw many local collectors who are precious clients as well as people from across the U.S. and Europe,” said Richard Moore of Richard Moore Photographs, Oakland, CA, who sold 33 photographs including images by Ansel Adams.
“The show was very positive,” noted Hans Kraus of Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc. who sold albumen prints by Eugène Atget for $155,000 and Charles Marville for $30,000.
”It was an outstanding fair for us,” noted Bert Finger, PDNB Gallery, Dallas, who sold work by Elliott Erwitt, Stephen Shore, Nickolas Muray, and Earlie Hudnall Jr.
Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, sold work by Harry Callahan from $20,000 to $50,000.
Chuck Isaacs of Charles Isaacs Photographs, Inc., New York, said he sold work by Gustave Le Gray, Charles Marville, Eugène Atget, and Berenice Abbott.
Galerie Johannes Faber, Vienna, sold a 1933 portrait of Meret Oppenheim by Man Ray for $45,000.
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, sold more than 20 prints by Vee Speers and work by Mona Kuhn as well as a number of others.
Martin Weinstein, Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, said, “We had a very good fair and sold work by Annie Leibovitz, Vera Lutter, Alec Soth, and Gordon Parks.”
Bryce Wolkowitz, Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, sold work by Edward Burtynsky and several other artists and noted, “The show was great.”
The Hollywood Reporter covers Eugenio Lopez’s LA party:
Throughout his completely renovated midcentury modern home are works from Lopez’s blue-chip art collection, much of which is now on display at his recently opened David Chipperfield-designed Museo Jumex in Mexico City. In L.A., work featured in his home was from Jeff Koons (Aqui Bacardi, 1986), Richard Prince (My Girlfriend, 2005), Donald Judd (Amber Stack, 1987), Warhol, Rashid Johnson, Cy Twombly and Sherrie Levine. A monumental Andreas Gursky photograph, Frankfurt, 2007, of the giant Frankfurt Airport arrivals and departures board, loomed over Lopez’s dining table.
[G]uests included Darren Star, himself a major contemporary art collector; fashion designer Gelila Puck (and wife of Wolfgang); hot L.A.-based furniture designers and twins Nikolai and Simon Haas (Leonardo DiCaprio is a fan); jewelry designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia; fast-rising multimedia artist Ryan Trecartin and his L.A. gallerist, Shaun Regen; Greek contemporary artist Konstantin Kakanias; and curator Shamin Momin.
Eugenio Lopez Hosts Star-Studded Evening for Art Collectors at Beverly Hills Estate (The Hollywood Reporter)
Local Miami real estate blog says that Larry Gagosian has bought a place in Alan Faena’s Miami art-driven development:
Larry Gagosian, the most successful art dealer alive today, has purchased a home in Faena Residences in Miami Beach. Faena is an 18 story luxury condominium being built at 3201 Collins Avenue expected to be completed this year. Faena will feature 47 residences that were priced between $3 -$50 Million . The property is situated on the widest stretch of white sand in all of Miami Beach. At this time, all units at Faena have been sold out.
Larry Gagosian buys home in Faena Residence Miami Beach (Luxury Miami Real Estate)
Dealbook’s Steven Davidoff explains the dispute over Sotheby’s use of a poison pill in its board fight with Third Point and other funds. Davidoff pithily describes the auction house as a “Hedge Fund Hotel” because of the number of firms that have taken up temporary residence in the stock:
Mr. Loeb’s Third Point is not out to acquire the company and, to avoid running afoul of the Barnes & Noble decision, is claiming that its acquisition of Sotheby’s shares is about being able to run an effective proxy contest and, therefore, the poison pill is not a reasonable response. Third Point stated in its complaint that “the board has no genuine concern with a takeover attempt” and instead is trying to “thwart Third Point, Sotheby’s largest stockholder, from effectively running a slate of director candidates.”
Sotheby’s has stated that it adopted the poison pill “to protect stockholders from coercive or otherwise unfair takeover tactics.” Sotheby’s is simply trying to apply the old law that clearly allows the company to adopt a poison pill, arguing that shareholder activism is a sufficient threat to justify the pill.
Davidoff’s post is also interesting for this strident comment made by art economist David Kusin:
Neither the Sotheby’s board nor its recently active shareholders have a clue what’s at stake. Loeb’s initial public letter last fall and all the subsequent maneuvering since then indicate they haven’t a clue about the strategic tidal wave building to overcome them all. BID’s business model is from another distant era, as are Loeb’s suppositions about what’s wrong. Neither side accounts for the IP and communications / delivery technologies that have changed every other economic marketplace, but not the art sector. The most active buyers and sellers of art have been ill-served in the extreme by what’s masquerading as an efficient market. In less than a decade, BID and the other bulge-bracket art auction houses will have been netflixed, like Blockbuster Video, Studebaker and the New York Central Railroad before them. Their current discussion will prove to have been the ultimate Rabelaisian waste of time.
Poison Pill’s Relevance in the Age of Shareholder Activism (Dealbook/NYTimes)