Sotheby’s exciting Italian sale closed with auctioneer Oliver Barker shouting “Viva Italia!” And it is not hard to imagine the elation and relief Barker’s cry signified echoing deep into the company’s ranks. Sotheby’s—which has suffered through several years of repeated drubbings in the Contemporary category by their rivals at Christie’s—neatly inverted the scoring with their Italian sale making nearly the same £40m as Christie’s Contemporary sale. Both houses wound up with evening totals that were similar.
Piero Manzoni’s Achrome at Sotheby’s was a major part of the sale’s value but there was action across the board, especially a number of battles over Enrico Castellani’s surface works.
During the Contemporary portion of the sale, Bloomberg’s Mary Romano noticed a certain European-Asian transfer corridor opening up:
The top lot was a black, brown and yellow abstract 1958 painting by French artist Soulages that sold for 2.6 million pounds to a private Asian buyer, Sotheby’s said in a statement. Its estimate was 2 million pounds to 3 million pounds.
“Asian buyers were out in force tonight,” Alex Branczik, head of contemporary art in London, said in the statement.
Martin Kippenberger’s “Ohne Titel,” a self-portrait from 1992, was purchased for 2.3 million pounds by the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, Sotheby’s said. Its estimate was 2.5 million to 3.5 million pounds.
Coling Gleadell kept score on the emerging artists, including one coming back through the aforementioned China-Europe gateway:
Sotheby’s gave ample space in its evening sale to younger artists, in honor of Frieze week. It obtained a record £110,500 or $177,200 for an eight-part Untitled abstract painting of 2013 by Israel Lund, which it had anticipated with a £80,000–120,000 estimate, and then trumped the record £206,500 given at Phillips on Wednesday for a sculpture by Danh Vō with a new record £314,500 for a six-foot-plus high gold leaf painting on cigarette cases, Numbers (9)(2011). Numerous bidders, including the French buyer of his work at Phillips, and the White Cube gallery itself, lifted it over the £100,000–150,000 estimate.
Further bullish prices for young artists were obtained when rising Chinese art star Jia Aili, who had just chalked up a record $952,000 with a painting that sold to a European buyer at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, was on stage with a slightly smaller 2009 painting of a helmeted astronaut caught within a jagged geometry that sold to an Asian buyer for £674,500 or $1,081,696, far above a £250,000–350,000 estimate. Another high riser is Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie, and his Duchamp’s Funeral I (2009), surpassed a £400,000–600,000 estimate to sell to an Asian buyer for £1 million or $1.6 million.
Finally, a bit oddly, the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Lane has some thoughts about the Anselm Kiefer market that are strikingly her own:
Mr. Kiefer, 69, has always been a tricky sell given his heavily Nazi-themed works that frequently depict him giving the “Heil, Hitler” salute in a Nazi uniform. One of two Kiefers at Christie’s stalled at $563,000, far below its $660,000 low estimate. A Mandarin speaker paid $1.9 million for his 1999 work “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom!,” a $981,000 loss on the work’s previous value but reflective of a trend amid Chinese millionaires to buy works confronting Maoist thought. A buyer at Phillips paid $1.3 million for “For Paul Celan,” Mr. Kiefer’s homage to the Nazi-persecuted Jewish poet.
Mr. Kiefer’s London dealer Jay Jopling also has taken an unorthodox step to bolster his artist’s soft market by involving an academic institution in a business deal, according to people familiar with the situation. In a move many art insiders would consider anathema, Mr. Jopling himself joined as a main sponsor, along with BNP Paribas, of London’s ongoing Royal Academy exhibition on Mr. Kiefer. Having works in a prestigious exhibition increases an artist’s public profile—and the value of the works.
Mr. Jopling has been quietly selling around seven of the works currently on loan in the show for approximately $750,000 each, according to people familiar with the matter.
Pierre Soulages Breaks $4 Million Mark at Sotheby’s (artnet News)
Scott Reyburn closes out the sales reporting with these to listings:
an Italianate landscape by the 17th-century Dutch painter Nicolaes Berchem, marked at £210,000 at the booth of the London dealer Johnny Van Haeften, was one of the few confirmed Old Master sales at the preview.
Pavilion of Art and Design fair PAD in Berkeley Square, which opened the same day as Frieze. Here the Swiss-based dealer Gmurzynska sold a 1960 Yves Klein ultramarine abstract, “IKB 176,” for $2 million to a European collector.
A Frieze Art Fair That’s All Grown-Up (NYTimes.com)
Mary J. Lane got these sales in the Wall Street Journal:
Javier Peres’s sales on Tuesday’s opening. “People kept coming in ready to buy immediately,” he said. He sold “Square West,” a 2014 oil on canvas by California-born Mike Bouchet that depicts a greasy hamburger, for around $55,000.
Tokyo’s Misako & Rosen: sold five everyday objects like Oreos, socks and tea bags that the 40-year-old Ken Kagami dipped in bronze for between $2,500 and $4,900.
ARTNews was out trolling for these sales at both Frieze and Frieze Masters:
Sold one Mark Grotjahn cardboard mask sculpture for $500,000, with “very firm offers,” for another at that price, and a third at $750,000.
Two main works from the booth by Alicja Kwade and another by Valentin Carron, all three sold for around €30,000.
All the Pensato works on the booth have sold, including the vast drawing of a grinning Mickey Mouse, Mickey for Micky (2014).
Two Ryan Gander pieces have also been bought priced between £40,000- £70,000 ($64,000-$122,000).
Two Arcangel Lake works: Miley / Lakes (2014) and Gummies / Lakes (2013) $60,000 – $90,000.
David Zwirner gallery
“Artists sold so far: Arman, Dadmaino, Alighiero Boetti, Alberto Burri, Bridget Riley (we recently had a show at DZ London, and will have one in NYC next year), Antoni Tàpies, Jan Schoonhoven (we will have a show in Jan-Feb on W 20th St in NYC), Alberto Burri, Dan Flavin, Sigmar Polke, Cy Twombly.
Michael Werner gallery
Enriquo David untitled woll on canvas work from 2014, $40,000 to $80,000
Erwin Wurm sausage statue, 2013, €250,000 ($320,000)
Workers Leaving the Factory by Harun Farocki (1995), purchased from inventory by (“can I say this?”) the Tate Modern for €30,000 ($38,400)
Gilbert and George, Dalston, 2013, £110,000 ($176,540)
Tony Craig, Untitled, 2014, €450,000 ($576,000)
Anthony Gormley, Turn V, 2013, £350,000 ($561,730)
Marc Brandenburg, Untitled (interior), 2014, €22,000 ($28,160)
Blum & Poe
Karel AppelTwo Heads, 1964 €290,000 ($371,230)
Hugh-Scott DouglasUntitled, 2014 $65,000
Takashi Murakami When I Yearn For The Day Past, 2014 $500,000
Yoshitomo NaraBeh!, 2014 $425,000
Theodora AllenUntitled, 2014 $12,000
Gavin KenyonUntitled, 2014 $14,000
Matt JohnsonBob, Dinosaur, 2013 (in the Frieze sculpture park) $150,000
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Olafur EliassonSchools of Movement Sphere, 2014 €260,000 ($332,830)
Mark Manders work €260,000 ($332,830)
Haim SteinbachUntitled (Jamaican head mobius strip) 2014 $70,000
Analia Saban $24,000
Tomás Saraceno €48,000 ($61,440)
Blum And Poe
Reportedly strong sales at their Tansaekhwa themed booth. Tim Blum: “We came here to accomplish a certain task and we’ve achieved it.” Works: $50,000-$400,000
Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Five works of their single-artist booth for Leon Kossoff sold for between £40,000 and £55,000 ($64,000 and $88,000).
“A number” of Anne Truitt works sold for between $75,000 and $150,000.
Robert Gober bent-door wall sculpture sold for an undisclsed amount, though works of his sculpture of that quality are usually between “$1.5 million to $2.5 million.”
Richard Feigen Gallery
Sold four pieces by Ray Johnson, preferred not to give figures.
From a director: “We sold a major 1960s Enrico Castellani to a private European foundation and a group of important historical works by the artists of the Zero group.”
Price Check: Frieze London (ARTnews)
Price Check: Frieze Masters (ARTnews)
— Ermanno Rivetti (@ErmannoRivetti) October 16, 2014
The Master, Judd Tully, is reporting from his own site:
At London’s Victoria Miro, Chris Ofili’s ravishing oil on linen painting, “Ritual & Resitance (Desire)” from 2009 and grandly scaled at 122 ¼ by 79 inches, sold in the opening moments for a mid, six-figure £ price as it was apparently chased by at least four potential buyers.
The appetite for Polke appeared unabated at Frieze Masters on Tuesday (the 14th) as the hallucinatory abstraction, “Lapplandische Reise (Lapand Journey Journey II)” from 1984 in lacquer on fabric and scaled at 79 ¼ by 98 15/16 sell for an undisclosed price, though one would guess in the low seven figures.
The gallery also sold a stunning Jan Schoonhoven wall relief, “Thin Ridge” from 1965 in painted cardboard relief on board and in artist’s frame, again for an undisclosed price.
Schoonhoven is a so far underknown star of the Zero Group, currently featured in the Guggenheim’s long awaited exhibition.
A spokesperson for Zwirner said the gallery had sold some 11 works during the first day of Frieze Masters for a total of $6.1 million but wasn’t releasing any breakdown of specific, secondary market works due to requests from consignors.
— Ermanno Rivetti (@ErmannoRivetti) October 15, 2014
Mary Romano had these sales on Bloomberg:
- Van De Weghe Fine Art: Picasso, “Tete de Mousquetaire” for $4 million at .
- Dickinson: Picasso, “Le Peintre au Travail” for 2 million pounds ($3.2 million)
- Richard Green: A small Henry Moore bronze sculpture of a reclining woman with a child sold for as much as $500,000.
- White Cube: Hirst’s “Because I Can’t Have You I Want You,” a 1993 diptych of glass-enclosed fish in formaldehyde, fetched 4 million pounds and a 2001 David Hammons for $4 million.
- Galerie Perrotin: Kaws, “Final Days,” for about $300,000
- Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac: An almost 10-foot-fall 2014 bronze sculpture of a standing sausage by Erwin Wurm sold for 250,000 euros
- Michael Werner Gallery: Sigmar Polke’s untitled 2003 gouache on paper abstract, sold for $800,000
- Marianne Boesky Gallery sold drawings and a sculpture by Diana Al-Hadid at prices from $20,000 to $120,000.
- Gavin Brown’s Enterprise: All six of Ella Kruglyanskaya portraits of women sold for about $50,000 each
Hauser & Wirth
- Allan Kaprow, Caged Pheasant #2 1956 USD 500,000
- Eva Hesse, No title 1960 USD 450,000
- Chiyu Uemae, Untitled 1962 USD 160,000
- Pipilotti Rist, Geburtsort ist Zufall (Birthplace Is Random) 1994 USD 150,000
- Paul McCarthy, Plaster Your Head and One Arm into a Wall 1973 / 2009 USD 85,000
- Allan Kaprow, Seated Nude, Head on Hand 1953 USD 40,000
- Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Kiss) 2011 USD 18,000
- KLARA KRISTALOVA Nature Study 3, 2014 10,000-15,000 GBP
- XIANG JING, The End, 2012 Edition of 3 75,000-125,000 GBP
- ALEX PRAGER, Untitled (Parts 3), 2014 Edition of 6 20,000-25,000 GBP
- TRACEY EMIN, Holding her own Hands, 2014 120,000-180,000 GBP
- TRACEY EMIN, Sleeping, 2014 30,000-80,000 GBP
- TRACEY EMIN, Something Beautiful N.Y, 2014 120,000-175,000 GBP
- TERESITA FERNÁNDEZ, Golden (Dark Skies 1), 2014 $180,000-$250,000 USD
- ALEX PRAGER, Untitled (Parts 2), 2014 Edition of 6 10,000-18,000 GBP
- MICKALENE THOMAS, FBI/Serial Portraits, 2008 60,000-100,000 GBP
- ADRIANA VAREJÃO, Polvo Portraits III (Seascape Series), 2014 250,000-300,000 GBP
- NARI WARD, Sarah, 1993-2014 17,000-25,000 GBP
Hauser + Wirth, whose Frieze booth was photographed by Josh Spero (@joshspero) is first to report sales today with
- Rashid Johnson Untitled (daybed 5)2012 USD 90,000
- Anna Maria Maiolino São 40 (They are 40) 2011 USD 120,000
- Dieter Roth Elmer, rising (Öttchen, aufgehend) 1975-1976 USD 85,000
- Martin Creed Work No. 1324 2011 USD 55,000
- Ida Applebroog Jessika 2007 USD 35,000
- Ellen Gallagher Odalisque 2005 USD 18,000
Mnuchin Gallery (photo by @Garethharr)
- “Mnuchin Gallery sold within the first hour of Frieze Masters one of David Smith’s iconic Forgings to a private collector, priced at 2.4 million.”
For a strong set of sales last night at Christie’s, the mood the following morning was surprisingly down beat. Here’s what Bloomberg’s Mary Romano caught:
“There are several things at play: a general sense of caution given the recessionary concerns, inherent weakness in the euro, fair and auction fatigue and a market preference for superior-quality works,” Clayton Press of Linn Press LLC, an art-advisory firm based in Ewing, New Jersey, said in an e-mail.
Just shy of 90% of the lots on offer at Christie’s sold and yet there’s a feeling of caution. Certainly Phillip Hoffman of the Fine Art Fund seems to have been overcome with caution when he was seen making—and then withdrawing—a bid on top lot of the evening which ended up selling on one guaranteed bid.
Perhaps the perception problem comes from the lack of explosive upward movement in prices. The art market has come so far that it may be difficult to remember that these sales are still records even if there is little in the way of eye-catching bidding.
Colin Gleadell captured some of noteworthy action—like Joe Bradley’s almost £1m sale—even if the numbers didn’t set off alarm bells:
Eleanor Acquavella paid £578,500, or $922,129, against a £300,000–400,000 estimate for Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled (Twenty-Five Spaces) (1994–95), consisting of 25 resin casts of the space beneath as many chairs. The artist’s previous record was the £445,250, or $887,305, paid in July 2008.
There was profit taking last night:
Martin Kippenberger’s Falsches Zeichen der Lord Jim Loge (False Sign of the Lord Jim Loge) (1985) was sold in February 2006 for a low estimate £142,400 to UK property investor Guy Delall, and sold to the same Asian telephone bidder as the Kiefer for £302,500 or $482,000 (estimate: £250,000–350,000). The difference in performance between the two paintings over the years was largely due to the different levels of demand previously, which is never scientifically predictable.
And some loss making too:
Anselm Kiefer’s Lasst Tausend Blumen Blühen! (Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom) (1999), bought reportedly by Georgian business tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili in February 2007 for a record £1.8 million against a £300,000 low estimate. Now the estimate had increased to £700,000–1 million, but the price went down, selling to an Asian buyer for £1.2 million, or $1.9 million.
All of which represents a health market.
Earlier this week Agency France Presse reported a story that was picked up by several rash art outlets and repeated without much thinking. The original story speculated that half of all art works on the market were fake based upon the fact that the lab, based in the Geneva Freeport sees a preponderance of works that don’t live up to their owner’s hopes.
Now, any sensible reader would have quickly spotted the selection bias in the 70-90 percent claim. Clearly under some pressure, the lab jumped at The Daily Beast’s giving them the opportunity to clarify:
Yann Walther, executive director of the Fine Arts Institute in Geneva, told The Daily Beast that the headline-grabbing claims should be treated with caution. “People who come to us often already have a question about the authenticity of the work,” he said. “So this does not mean that on the market, 70 to 90 percent of work is fake.”
Are Over Half the Works on the Art Market Really Fakes? (The Daily Beast)
Sotheby’s and Venus Over Manhattan are going to test the Cattelan market now the artist has retired. Adam Lindemann was a major contributor to the Guggenheim’s retrospective. Now he’s putting on a dual show of Cattelan’s work:
From 30 October to 26 November 2014 Sotheby’s S|2 and Venus Over Manhattan will present Cosa Nostra, the first major exhibition of Maurizio Cattelan’s work since Maurizio Cattelan: All, the 2011/12 Guggenheim retrospective, and the artist’s subsequent retirement. Curated by collector and gallerist Adam Lindemann, this selling exhibition will showcase a range of works from Cattelan’s career, including many of the artist’s most recognizable iconography that has made him one of the most idiosyncratic and unique of his generation. A direct response to All, Cosa Nostra will utilize a distinct and dramatic exhibition design in each presenting venue, highlighting the artist’s works as powerful, individual objects. At Venus Over Manhattan, the works will exist in isolation; at S|2, the viewer will be immersed in their images. Drawn from important private collections, the works range in value from $30,000 to $20 million.
Carol Vogel has a tantalizing but fragmented report in the New York Times about a sale at Christie’s that comes by way of Ydessa Hendeles, a Toronto dealer who assembled a substantial group of Cindy Sherman’s film stills that will now be auctioned at Christie’s as a single lot. Selling the works together is a bit of a risk as the Cole Weston trust discovered just two weeks ago. But the owner, Mitchell Rales, can afford to take the risk.
What’s not clear from Vogel’s story is the nature of the transaction that is bringing the lot to market:
“When we bought the collection, we knew there were duplicates,” Mr. Rales said in a telephone interview. “We are deep into Cindy’s work and will continue to collect it.” He added that he felt strongly that this collection of “Untitled Film Stills” should stay together, because “Ydessa did a fabulous job putting it together, and it would be almost impossible to replicate it today.”Proceeds from Christie’s sale of Ms. Sherman’s “Film Stills” are going toward future acquisitions at Glenstone, which is undergoing a major expansion, adding a second museum building on the property.
From the way Rales describes it, the 21 lots represent the duplicates from the film stills. Does that mean Glenstone, Rales’s private museum in Maryland, now has a complete set of the 69 images? How many did Hendeles originally put together? Finally, there’s this addendum:
In addition to the “Untitled Film Stills,” the Christie’s acquisition, made last year, includes some of the finest examples by artists like Louise Bourgeois, Maurizio Cattelan, Hanne Darboven, Katharina Fritsch, Jenny Holzer, Bruce Nauman and Jeff Wall.
After a multi-year run that culminated in 2012 with the first sale of one of the paintings from Eric Clapton’s triptych for $34m, the market for Gerhard Richter abstract paintings seems to be showing some weakness. During Monday’s Essl collection sale, the abstract work failed at the podium but was sold shortly after the sale for 20% below the low estimate. Colin Gleadell, writing for artnet’s news service, tried to find the positive in the news:
The sale’s biggest disappointment was the failure of Gerhard Richter’s large abstract Netz (1985), which had been bought in auction at Sotheby’s New York in June 1994 for $308,500 but went unsold. It was sold privately after the sale, Christie’s said, for a premium-inclusive £5.5 million ($8.8 million) against a £7–10 million estimate. While putting a damper on the Richter market, the price still represents a 1,686 percent increase over the 20 years.
According to Mary Romano on Bloomberg, the late sale burst the bubble of confidence surrounding these works. She got this from Phillips’s Michael McGinnis:
“It spooked people and that had an impact on this result,” McGinnis said.
Then, last night, the artist’s U.L. (above) passed. Gleadell points to the consignors having mistaken the market peak for a buying opportunity.
A small Gerhard Richter abstract U.L.(1985) (estimate: £1.5–2 million) attracted no bids. Phillips’ head of sale, Peter Sumner, said the lackluster performance of a large Richter abstract at Christie’s Essl collection sale on Monday could not have helped. The painting had also been on the market in 2012 when it sold at Christie’s London for £612,450 ($978,695).
If Gleadell is right and the failure was a mis-calculation, the two works at Christie’s on tonight—both have not been on the market for a decade—will tell us a lot more about the state of this market. It may be that everyone who wants a Richter abstract already has one. Or expectations about price simply have to be re-calibrated.
Update: Two out of three of the abstracts at Christie’s sold tonight and one was bought in. So, dire predictions didn’t come true and there was a lot of Richter on the market. This slightly earlier work from 1990 sold 10 years after being bought at Phillips returning 5x to the consignor over a ten year period, which isn’t bad.
Young Artists All the Rage at Phillips Sale (artnet News)