Why London Continues to Gain Ground as Gateway to Global Art World

Scott Reyburn assembles a few facts to illustrate London’s continuing—and growing—role in the center of the global art market:

London’s demographic is indeed changing. Definitive statistics are elusive, but it is widely recognized that over the past five years wealthy foreigners have been buying up houses and apartments in the British capital, to use as residences or as lucrative “safe haven” investments.

From June 2012 to June 2013, 49 percent of all “prime” real estate transactions in central London — worth 1 million pounds, or about $1.6 million, or more — were made by foreign buyers, according to a report published in October 2013 by the real estate broker Knight Frank.

More recently, Knight Frank has reported that more ultrawealthy people live in London than in any other city in the world. Surveys suggest that 4,000 to 6,000 people with an ultrahigh net worth, of at least $30 million in liquid assets, have residences in London.

This is transforming London, including its art market, in many ways. Branches of megagalleries such as Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner and Pace offer high-end contemporary art to London’s international collectors, while long-established local fairs, such as the London Art Fair and the 20/21 British Art Fair, struggle to retain quality exhibitors.

The Rise of the Boutique Fair  (NYTimes.com)

Speculation Qatari Bought $179m Picasso Was Wrong

The problem with the modern media is that too often a single speculative report is repeated endlessly by other outlets without any attempt to determine the facts.

When the NYPost wrote a story last week claiming to know the buyer of the record-setting Picasso sold at Christie’s earlier in the month, experienced reporters were reminded that most record sales are assumed to go to the Qataris but later seem to have wound up in other hands.

A Gulf news outlet asked Christie’s to comment on the Post’s report, they were told the information was wrong. CNBC seems to have consulted its own sources:

Reports Thursday identified former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Than as the buyer.

But sources tell CNBC’s “Power Lunch” say the Qatari billionaire is “definitely not” the deep-pocketed collector of this painting.

$179 million Picasso buyer still at large (CNBC)

Donald Judd “Taken for Granted”—MoMA to Tackle Retrospective


The New York Times announces a new retrospective of Donald Judd’s work in 2017:

in the fall of 2017, the Museum of Modern Art will take on the thorny task of a Judd retrospective. It will be the first American survey of his work since 1988 and will occupy not only the large second-floor contemporary galleries but also the museum’s atrium. Ann Temkin, the museum’s chief curator of painting and sculpture, will organize the show, which she described as overdue partly because Judd’s work has become so iconic that its power and influence have been obscured.

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Global Association Seeks to Raise Private Museum Game as Governments Look to Private Collectors

Yuz Museum

The FT reports on the new association of private museums that will begin to help owners of private museums to coordinate everything but especially to begin to share shows. This is especially important in Asia where governments are addressing the absence of a museum infrastructure, especially for Contemporary art, by harnessing the private sector which heretofore has lacked the institutional sophistication of public museums.

Twenty-three museum owners from the US and Europe, China, Indonesia, Dubai, Turkey and Mexico are aiming to share expertise about acquiring works or curating skills, as well as to boost the prominence of their exhibitions by sharing works and even whole shows.

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The Almighty Dollar Sign Is Stronger in London

Dollar Sign Sale

Perhaps the only interesting thing about the sale of 21 dollar sign themed art works that are valued around £41-57m is that it is being held in London:

The centrepiece of the collection is a group of seven works by the US pop artist Andy Warhol. These include the first of his series of “dollar” paintings and the only one that he painted entirely by hand. “One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate)”, painted in 1962 at the beginning of Warhol’s rise to fame, is estimated at £13m-£18m. Other works in the sale, “To the Bearer on Demand”, include those by Keith Haring, Joseph Beuys, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, and Scott Campbell.

Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s co-head of contemporary art, said Warhol’s obsession with money was “prophetic” for a market that had seen values rise steeply in recent years. “Andy Warhol in the early 1960s took on the subject matter — which is pretty much our current conversation of today — of art and money.”

The paintings were acquired over 30 years by a European collector, who is thought to have worked in financial services. Sotheby’s declined to give details of the vendor, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Source: Money as art: £50m dollar-themed collection goes under the hammer – FT.com

Guarantees: Essential Ingredient for Art Market Apocalypse or Long Bull Run?

Mick Frahm's Instagram of Sotheby's 515

Scott Reyburn is still mining the subject of guarantees with a look at their importance to the New York sales. Guarantees are upsetting the traditional art world but he closes with a long-term art market player predicting a long bull market in art. For some this will be the sign we’re at a top; for others, just the beginning:

“It’s about banking, not art, whether for asset allocation purposes or protective currency movement,” said the Dallas collector Howard Rachofsky, a former hedge fund manager, […] As prices continue to escalate, Mr. Rachofsky predicted, “great stuff will come” on the market.

When will the party end? Not soon, market insiders say. “It will last forever, with ups and downs,” said the French collector Steve Rosenblum.

Wealth, Mystery and Huge Profits at Recent Art Sales  (NYTimes.com)

Sotheby’s American = $38m