Marion Maneker0September 17, 2014

Phoenix Gallery Sells Warhol Diamond Dust Shoes Out from Under Couple


Amy Koler and Stephen Meyer sued American Fine Art Editions, managed by Phillip Koss and another employee, Jeff Dippold, for selling a Warhol they were keeping with the gallery in exchange for the gallery being able to display it:

In 2009, Koler and Meyer decided to move to St. Petersburg, Fla. and to keep much of their artwork in a home in Arizona, but sought to store the “Red Shoes” piece.

Koss – American Fine Art’s gallery manager – and gallery employee Dippold “suggested that plaintiffs keep the Red Shoes piece at AFAE’s gallery and an arrangement by which AFAE would agree to store and insure the piece through AFAE’s business insurance in return for plaintiffs’ agreement that AFAE could display the piece and use it to help market sales of other similar works. The defendants knew from their discussions with plaintiffs that plaintiffs intended to keep ownership of the piece and not to sell it,” according to the complaint.

Koler and Meyer say they spoke with Dippold a number of times over the years, and he failed to mention any plans to sell the piece, and they repeatedly told him they were not interested in selling it.

They travelled to the gallery in Scottsdale this year, and found that the defendants had sold the Warhol.

“Defendant Dippold claimed that the defendants sold the ‘Red Shoes’ piece ‘months ago,’ and asked, ‘didn’t Phil call you?’” the complaint states. […]

Dippold offered to pay $65,000 – the amount the plaintiffs paid for the piece, but its value today is far higher, Koler and Meyer say.

What Happened to My Warhol? (Courthouse News Service)

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Marion Maneker0September 17, 2014

Phillips Under the Influence = $5.26m

Marion Maneker0September 17, 2014

Artelligence Podcast: Peter Loughrey, Los Angeles Modern Auctions

The Artelligence Podcast spends a little time talking to LAMA’s Peter Loughrey about the growth of his regional auction house and LA’s distinctive art and design collecting culture:

Peter Loughrey is an established curator, trusted consultant, and a well-recognized expert in Modern Design & Fine Art. He is a prominent figure in the Los Angeles Modern Art & Design community through his involvement at LACMA as a member of the Decorative Arts and Design Council and Contemporary Friends, as well as his contributions to Taschen books. Not only is he a repeat appraiser on PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow”, but he has also been featured on Forbes’ “Sold!” on Ovation TV.

Peter co-curated many Los Angeles gallery shows, including “Gio Ponti: Furnished Settings & Figuration” (2004) and “Dutch Design” (2005), both at ACME Gallery, in addition to co-curating and publishing a catalog for “Gaetano Pesce: Pieces from a Larger Puzzle” at Los Angeles’ Italian Cultural Institute (2010). He has also written numerous articles and was a contributor in the books Case Study Houses (Taschen 2003), Julius Shulman Modernism Rediscovered (Taschen 2007), and Collecting Design (Taschen 2010). He was named one of the 50 most powerful dealers in the Art + Auction “Power Issue” for two consecutive years.

Marion Maneker0September 17, 2014

ArtRio Sales Report


Gagosian Gallery expressed some trepidation about bringing a massive haul of 80 works by 30 artists with a price tag of $130m to ArtRio. But reports are coming out that they made at least one big ticket sale. The Monet pictured above is said to have sold for $10m during the fair. (This is, of course, only a rumor.)

“It’s a little bit of a risk-taking situation,” said Victoria Gelfand-Magalhaes, a New York-based Gagosian director who worked on the project with her Paris-based colleague Serena Cattaneo. “We don’t know if there’s a market there for works in the $10 million to $15 million price range but we hope if we bring real masterpieces, people will respond.”

The big complaint before ArtRio was the bite taken by Brazil’s import duties on art. Even with local exemptions, the Brazilian government adds 15% to the cost of an art work imported to the country. That may explain the very small number of reported sales like these from Artnet:

Y Gallery: Within the first hour, Jurado had sold a minimal work by artist Ryan Brown
Steve Turner:One Rafaël Rozendaal has already sold to a German collector. The others has waiting lists.

If you have any ArtRio sales you want recorded here before the post goes out in our weekly newsletter early next week, feel free to get in touch or use the contact form on the site.

Gagosian Plans $130 Million Package for Brazil Art Fair  (Bloomberg)

ArtRio Attracts International Heavyweights and Niche Galleries Alike (Artnet News)


Auction Results
Marion Maneker0September 17, 2014

Murray Frum’s Oceanic Art = €7.5m at Sotheby’s Paris

Murray Frum Sale

Murray Frum’s collection of Oceanic Art sold at Sotheby’s in Paris yesterday. All 49 lots were purchased for a total of $9.4m. The pre-sale exhibition had drawn a healthy 2300 visitors and there were records set as well as 3 works making more than €1m.

Bird Perch from Frum Collection

Murray Frum Collection Top Ten

Collectors, Dealers
Kenny Schachter0September 17, 2014

Collectors v. Dealers: Mutual Antagonism, Growing Mistrust

Phillips Auction Catalogue Collector, curator and art world gadfly, Kenny Schachter just published on his Facebook page a telling email exchange between a young collector and a dealer. Schachter is put off by the dealer’s arrogance. The title of the post could have been: “Dealer to Collector: Your Art Sucks.”

But the correspondence is worth reading for more than that. The emotions, the turns of phrase, the insults emanating from each side seem to capture the growing sense of confrontation, mistrust and resentment on both sides of the primary art market equation:

Collector: HI 

I am a xxxx based collector and co-founder of the xxxx collection a newly establish initiative who promotes emerging artists. We really like the work of xxxx and we would like to acquire a piece for the collection. Please let me know if you have something available. We have not officially launched our website but you can look at the beta version it will give you the spirit and philosophy of what we do and what we collect. 

Dealer: Thanks for the e-mail and the interest in the works by xxxx. Unfortunately we have no works to offer at this point, but promise to keep your interest in mind.

Collector: Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. I would be very happy to discuss further on the phone or meet in person when you visit xxxx art fair. We are very much interested in the work of another of your artists xxxx so please keep us in mind for her upcoming show. 

Dealer: I am afraid that presents itself without a sense of purpose and that we will not be able to make the collection a priority. In all fairness, I am an eager supporter of not wasting my time or the time of others, and having looked at the online presentation I find that the decisions you’ve made so far provide a context that is not the right one for these artists. 

It may be that the collection is not set up as an investment fund or to give it the appearance of a Philips auction catalogue, but it tells a fairly sad story of what is generally sold today and what will hopefully sell for more tomorrow. Best of luck with building whatever collection you want, but we will unfortunately be unable to contribute to that.

All the best,

Collector: Thanks for being open and blunt. Unfortunately my collection reflects my inexperience. I started collecting 2 years ago, I never used advisors, and I never studied art. I see this enterprise as a generational push, I buy works from artists that I can relate to because we share a common history hence my focus on the emerging scene, I am myself early 30’s. I have never sold anything and I am not intending to do so, I have never participated in an auction.

In your email you are talking about the choice that I have made, the art world is very difficult to break in for non-insiders; pretentious gallerists like you refuse to sell to persons like me because “we do not provide an appropriate context”. Well, you are participating in the system that you are criticizing pushing me to buy the works that I can access easily and making the volatility of the prices a sell-fulfilling prophecy. 

On my side, I will still try to support the younger generation, hoping that one day your world of privilege will come to an end.

Marion Maneker0September 16, 2014

Why Paris is the Capital of the ‘Tribal Art’ Market


Scott Reyburn reports from the Parcours des Mondes in Paris where ‘Tribal Art’ seeks a broader audience:

Over the past couple of decades Paris has been competing with Brussels and its Non European Art Fair, held in June, to be Europe’s prime trading center for tribal artifacts — one of the few historical categories that can attract crossover buying from collectors of modern and contemporary art. In the 1990s, Sotheby’s and Christie’s decided to hold high-end tribal auctions in Paris. That decision, together with the concentration of France’s ethnographic collections in Musée du Quai Branly, which opened in 2006, has given the edge to Paris, where “primitive” art played a crucial role in influencing avant-garde artists such as Picasso, Modigliani and Brancusi during the early 20th century.

The gallery-lined rue des Beaux-Arts and the rue de Seine were bustling with international collectors, many American, at the opening of Parcours last Tuesday. There were several stand-out shows. The up-and-coming Paris and Brussels dealer Martin Doustar, 35, had taken four years to put together his collection of 49 human skull sculptures from various eras and civilizations. Aptly named “Golgotha,” the exhibition included a macabre A.D. 1300 Mixtec mosaic-inlaid head, priced at 350,000 euros, or about $452,300. Nearby, Galerie Flak was showing more than 20 Eskimo sculptures. Among the group, acquired from a collection in Aspen, Colorado, a small “grande figure” from the 2,000-year-old Okvik culture, as abstract as a Brancusi, was priced at €130,000. About eight of them quickly sold to collectors from the United States, France and Germany for more than €50,000 each.

Arte y Ritual was among around 30 non-French guest exhibitors at the Parcours. The Spanish dealers, who sell to contemporary art collectors such as New York-based Adam Lindemann, held a 30th-anniversary show that mixed museum-quality items of former stock with works currently for sale, such as a 19th-century wooden Ewa figure from the Korowori River, Papua New Guinea, for sale at €450,000.

There were plenty of red stickers in the galleries, though dealers said collectors tended to wait until the weekend to commit to big-ticket purchases. A group of distinctive Kota reliquary figures from Gabon — types admired and collected by Picasso — attracted at least four sales in the €100,000 to €400,000 range at Galerie Alain Bovis during the early hours of the preview.

Parcours des Mondes, with its buzzy blend of international gallerists and serious-minded collectors, would seem to be a model for survival for dealers specializing in historic material. And yet, as was pointed out by the Paris-based exhibitor Anthony Meyer, the event still somehow struggles to attract the crossover buyers that are key to the market’s growth. “It’s a great success, but we don’t see many contemporary art buyers,” Mr. Meyer said during the Parcours preview. “I met more of those when I was exhibiting with the antiquities dealers at Maastricht.”

Antiquarian Fairs Prove Vital to Dealers  (

Marion Maneker0September 16, 2014

Chinese Porcelain Hunters Return to the Market at Doyle’s, Bid $1.2m for $10k-Estimated Vases

Pair of Qianlong Vases sold at Doyle's for $1.2m

China’s porcelain hunters are back. After a long pause, there seems to be growing demand for ferreting out undervalued pots at smaller and regional auction houses. This trend was rampant in 2012 but had died down. Yesterday, Katya Kazakina reports on Bloomberg, the bidders were back at Doyle’s pushing a pair of Qianlong vases from $10k to $1.2m:

About 12 hopeful collectors yesterday vied for the vases with bids by phone and in the room at Doyle. The winner was an agent in the room who bought on behalf of an anonymous client, according to Rabstenek, who declined to say where the collector was based.

The original owner of the vases was George Upham Harris, the publicity director for the New York Stock Exchange who died in 1971, according to Doyle. The vases passed through the family to the consigner.

In a market plagued by forgeries, the provenance “assured the buyers that they weren’t made yesterday,” Rabstenek said. “Just because they have this mark on the bottom doesn’t mean they were made in the 18th century. Qianlong pieces were copied in 19th century, 20th century and they are copied now.”

Chinese Vases Soar 120 Times Past Target to $1.2 Million  (Bloomberg)

Marion Maneker0September 16, 2014

Aussie Ex-Pat Jeffrey Smart Stars in Sydney Contemporary Sales

Jeffrey Smart, Self Portrait ta Papini's A$1.26m

Australia’s early Spring auctions featured a number of rare works by Australian-born Jeffrey Smart whose works don’t often come to market but seemed to be everywhere this season. Both Sotheby’s Australia and Deutscher Hackett had significant examples:

As it turned out, Deutscher and Hackett won this battle with a stunning result of $1.26 million IBP for the self-portrait, a new record for a Smart at auction. It was bought by Bernard Shafer on behalf of an anonymous private collector from Melbourne.

At Sotheby’s the night before, Radial Road was eclipsed by another Jeffrey Smart work, The Red Warehouse, 2003, which achieved the highest result of the night with $878,400 IBP, more than double the lower estimate of $400,000.

Radial Road sold for $610,000 IBP.

Both paintings beat the more established work of blue-chip artists such as Fred Williams, Russell Drysdale and Brett Whiteley.

The two headline Smart paintings from both auction houses were unique in that they hadn’t appeared at auction before. Radial Road hadn’t been seen in public since it was bought new for about $2750 in 1972. The self-portrait has also had one owner since it was purchased in 1986 in Melbourne.

Blue chips post records (Sydney Morning Herald)

Marion Maneker0September 16, 2014

11 Irma Stern Paintings On Sale at Bonhams Oct. 1

lot 44 Irma Stern - Still life with African Woman in Zanzibar frame
Bonhams is bringing a clutch of Irma Stern paintings to market in their October 1st South African sale in London. The group of Sterns which span her career are estimated at between £2-3m:

Fresh from her studies under Max Pechstein at the Berlin Academy, Stern returned to Cape Town in 1920, where she continued to pursue those tenets of German Expressionism: authenticity and colour; via exoticism and primitivism, as seen in her depictions of native African women in lot 12 ‘Washer Women’ 1925 (£70,000-100,000) and lot 11 ‘Congo Woman’ 1929 (£250,000-350,000).

Stern’s love of the flowers she grew in her garden often found direct expression on canvas.  As with her earlier portraits, her still lifes, such as lot 31 ‘Still life with white irises’ 1941 (£100,000-150,000) and lot 32 ‘Still life with hydrangeas and mangoes’ 1944 (£250,000-350,000), also allowed her to experiment with rhythm and colour, the native and the authentic.

By the 1940s, Stern would seek to distance herself from overly ethnographic subjects and reposition herself firmly as a Modernist.  This is clearly evident in lot 44, ‘Still life with African Woman’ (£800,000-1.2million), the most valuable lot in the sale.  Painted in 1945, at the zenith of her career, it is showcased in one of her famous Zanzibar frames, which were exclusively reserved for those paintings she considered her very best. Lot 45, ‘Zanzibar Garden’ (£200,000-300,000), also boasts one of these highly ornate hand-carved hardwood frames and again reminds us of the artist’s love of the garden, albeit this time it is the lush vegetation of her slightly wild and overgrown garden in tropical Zanzibar; quite different to her ordered garden back in cool Cape Town.

Irma Stern’s wanderlust had been severely challenged by World War II: her visits to Zanzibar and the Congo in pursuit of fresh subject matter were inspired by necessity; the gates of Europe were shut. Her final trip to Europe before war broke out included four months in Italy in 1937 and it would be another decade before she returned. While those years in Africa were undoubtedly some of her most productive, it is obvious from lot 60 ‘The Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice’ 1948 (£400,000-600,000) and lot 61 ‘Fishing Boats, Amalfi’ 1953 (£70,000-100,000) that she was reinvigorated by her return to Europe.

lot 60 Irma Stern - The Entrance to the Grand Canal Venice