Marion Maneker0October 22, 2014

A Look Back at Frieze: Contemporary Art’s Steady Rise

Vernissage TV Frieze 2014

If you didn’t make it to Frieze, Vernissage TV’s tour of the fair is good way to get a taste of what visitors saw. Although sales were reported, there wasn’t a sense of market frenzy. The same tone seemed to hover over the auctions in London where Italian art created all of the heat and chatter.

So we asked Karolina Prawdzik to put together an overview chart of the Contemporary art sales in London during Frieze week from 2005 to today. What we saw was interesting, especially when we looked beneath the headlines of the evening sale and isolated the Contemporary day sales. Below you’ll see two charts comparing the average price (blue line) with the total sales volume (bars) for the Frieze Contemporary sales overall including Evening and Day sales (first chart) and then just the Day sales (bottom chart.)

The point of isolating the Day sales is to look at the day-to-day business of demand for Contemporary art. As we all know, value congregates in a few pieces by a few artists. The day sales present a broader look at demand.

From these charts you can see that volume and average prices for Day sale material is only now matching or exceeding the peak of 2007. Though the overall market, helped by the high flying Evening sales regained that ground two years ago.

If the Day sale numbers are finally back at 2007 levels, the fever pitch of the market certainly isn’t. For those who want to believe that the art market has entered a new phase, strong numbers amid sober expectations is a good combination.

Frieze Contemporary 2005-2014

Frieze Day Sale 2005-2014


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Marion Maneker0October 22, 2014

Sotheby’s Launches New Category, New Sale to Develop a New Market for 20th Century Art

Lot 5 César Domela, Composition Néoplastique

Sotheby’s has an interesting new take on a perennial problem in the art market, the lack of supply. Unlike other markets, supply in art has two different dimensions. There’s the physical availability of art works which paradoxically becomes more constrained as works become more valuable an therefore dear to their owners. And then there’s the other supply constraint, categories of works and artists that could be valuable to someone but for which there’s an underdeveloped market.

This second category is the one that holds the most promise for dealers and auction houses. Today, Sotheby’s announces a new sale aimed at developing these markets:

Sotheby’s will hold an inaugural 20th Century Art – A Different Perspective sale in London on 12 November 2014, featuring modern art from countries across Europe and around the Mediterranean by artists who have a strong regional following but are not yet part of the international mainstream. Leading the sale is a group of works by artists who were at the forefront of the intellectual avant-garde in Europe between the First and Second World Wars. Their principal occupation was the exploration of non-figurative art and in the pursuit of art’s highest form of purity they decreed that painting must be abstract. The auction, comprising 74 lots, also features a strong selection of early twentieth-century figurative works by artists who had assimilated the tenets of impressionist and cubist painting.

Non-Figurative Art Highlights Include:

·         Composition néo-plastique by Dutch artist César Domela, one of the artist’s most significant works and one of the few paintings by Domela from the early 1920s remaining in private hands (estimate: £400,000-600,000, illustrated above).

·         Composition no. 56 by German artist Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, painted in 1930 and an anticipation of Op-Art (estimate: £120,000-180,000).

·         Three Difficult Absences by Czech artist Mikusláš Medek who set off to find his own very personal and idiosyncratic abstraction (estimate: £40,000-60,000).

Figurative Art Highlights Include:

·         Cubist Figure by Otakar Kubin painted in Paris circa 1914 and an important rediscovery from the artist’s Cubist period (estimate: £80,000-120,000).

·         Sea by Hungarian artist Károly Ferenczy painted in 1904 and one of only two known sea views (estimate: £80,000-120,000).

·         Pfälzische Weinernte (Wine Harvest in The Palatinate) by German artist Max Selvogt, one of a triumvirate of German Impressionists (estimated: £140,000-180,000).

Marion Maneker0October 21, 2014

Christie’s Dubai = $12.5m

Marion Maneker0October 21, 2014

How Do You Know Postwar Italian Art is Taking Off? The Smart Money is Circling

Paolo Scheggi, Intersuperficie- Opera 6 (120-180k) 422,500

Paolo Scheggi, Intersuperficie- Opera 6 (120-180k) 422,500

Colin Gleadell has a detailed report on all the action in the Italian market last week in London. The combination of several galleries featuring Italian artists, the growing importance of Castellani on the market and Fontana’s continuing power culminated in record sales at the auctions. But a big part of the story is the dealers: Cardi, Nahmad, Mugrabi and Ben Brown. All are taking stakes in the market:

No Italian sales report would be complete without mention of the latest phenomenon. Paolo Scheggi, who died in 1971 at just 31 years of age, is an artist that few market watchers had spotted until last October, when one of his three-canvas-deep cut-out constructed works sold for £218,000 against a £20,000 estimate in London. Before last week’s auctions, London dealers Robilant + Voena exhibited Scheggi works at their gallery and at the Pavilion of Art & Design fair in London, where they made several sales in the £200,000–500,000 range.

At the auctions, four works by Scheggi were all sold, most at double the estimates. The top price was £422,500, or $677,563, bid over the phone at Sotheby’s against competition from Cardi and Jude Hess for Intersuperficie Blu – Opera 6 (1965). Significantly, another Scheggi in the sale, Intersuperficie Bianca (1964), which sold for double its estimate at £386,500, or $619,830, was underbid by Mugrabi, stalking the territory.

Strong Sales in London for Italian Postwar Market  (artnet News)

Marion Maneker0October 21, 2014

What’s Going On in the Richter Abstract Market?

Richter UL, 612,450 GBP

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.

Richter Abstraktes 724-1 (1.2-1.8m) 1.874m GBP

Further update: 

Although Gerhard Richter’s larger abstracts experienced a few wobbles, his small abstracts were selling like hot cakes last week. One typical example was a 14 by 16 inch painting at Christie’s that had been bought in 1999 for £34,000 and sold for a double estimate £350,000.

And there was another work on paper that sold for slightly more at £374,500:

Gerhard Richter, Untitled (13.4.86) (150-200k) 374,500 GBP

Young Artists All the Rage at Phillips Sale  (artnet News)

Warhol Marilyns Unsold at $24 Million Phillips’ U.K. Sale  (Bloomberg)

Polke Drubs Richter at Christie’s $75 Million Essl Collection Sale   (artnet News)

Art market news: Italian art flies high  (Telegraph)


Marion Maneker0October 21, 2014

Chanos Art Buying Is ‘Socially Acceptable Conspicuous Consumption’

Chanos on Sotheby's on Bloomberg 1014

Bloomberg caught up with Jim Chanos about the art market twice this week:

The art world “is like a guild meeting,” Jim Chanos, the founder of hedge-fund firm Kynikos Associates LP, said at a dinner he hosted for about 90 people at the Dorchester hotel. “Everyone gets together, they gossip and they pass judgment. It’s kind of silly and you have to take it with a grain of salt. You pick your spots,” said the investor, who’s known for betting against companies and markets.

Jim Chanos is no fan of art as an investment or even as an asset. The famed short-seller has tried to tie Sotheby’s stock to equity bubbles but even with recent market swoons, BID has collapsed without bringing down the broader equities market. That’s not to say that Chanos doesn’t have smart things to say about art consumption in this appearance with Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg starting around 12:00 in the video:

RUHLE: All right. Hedge funds make me think of the ultra 1 percent. You have been critical in the past of the art market, saying we are sitting on a bubble. Where do you stand now?

JIM CHANOS: Well I was in London last week and I spoke to a Bloomberg reporter Friday night about it. We’ve been short Sotheby’s. We were public on that. And I think that – that the art market is an interesting microcosm of all (inaudible).

RUHLE: The super rich?

JIM CHANOS: – about it in that – that it’s socially acceptable conspicuous consumption.

RUHLE: One more time?

JIM CHANOS: Socially acceptable conspicuous consumption. I think it’s a market that studies have shown correlates more with income inequality than general economic growth. And I think that’s an interesting part that a lot of people don’t realize about the art market, that the richer the rich get the better the art market does. The art market didn’t do so hot in the ‘60s and ‘70s when all incomes were going up. It did really well in the last10 years and in the late ‘80s, for example. So you have to be a little careful with art. I think art is wonderful. If you love a piece of art, buy it. Enjoy it. Put it up on your wall. But to use it as a financial investment or barometer I think is a little scary.

RUHLE: It doesn’t make you change your tune on Sotheby’s when you see a guy like Dan Loeb get in the game?

JIM CHANOS: Look, Dan’s an old friend and I think that he’s going to do the best he can. I just think that this is a company tied to the art market. And – and that’s the problem with it, and he and I disagree about that.

Jim Chanos Says Petrobras is a ‘Scheme, Not a Stock’   (Bloomberg)

Hirst’s Formaldehyde Fish Top Sales at Frieze in London   (Bloomberg)

Marion Maneker0October 20, 2014

Sotheby’s Flips the Format for Frieze

Sotheby's Italian Art Sale Frieze 2014

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.

Basquiat, Soulages Works Lead Sotheby’s $45 Million London Sale  (Bloomberg)

Pierre Soulages Breaks $4 Million Mark at Sotheby’s   (artnet News)

London Caps a Busy Art Week  (WSJ)

Sotheby's London Italian 1014

Sotheby's London Cont Eve 1014

Marion Maneker0October 20, 2014

Frieze Sales Report

Peter Gallo at Frieze

Colin Gleadell had these sales in the Telegraph:

[Aligheiro] Boetti was also in demand at the Frieze Masters fair where London dealer Ben Brown sold a massive 12 panel biro painting for just over €2 million (£1.58 million).

Many sales were reported on the first day of the Frieze London art fair, but none mentioned one of the quieter successes of the fair where seven paintings by Canadian artist Peter Gallo (above) were sold by London gallery Anthony Reynolds, priced from $8,000 to $30,000 (£5,000 – £18,500) each. Gallo, who works in psychiatric care when not painting, is currently enjoying his first museum style show this side of the Atlantic at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin. Laced with literary and physical references, and with a sensual feeling for paint, Gallo’s art could be the next big thing, say some.

Art market news: Italian art flies high  (Telegraph)

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   (

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.

London’s Frieze Art Fairs Begin Strongly – WSJ.

ARTNews was out trolling for these sales at both Frieze and Frieze Masters:

Anton Kern

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.

303 Gallery

Two main works from the booth by Alicja Kwade and another by Valentin Carron, all three sold for around €30,000.

Lisson Gallery

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
Thaddaeus Ropac
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 GeorgeDalston, 2013, £110,000 ($176,540)
Tony CraigUntitled, 2014, €450,000 ($576,000)
Anthony GormleyTurn V, 2013, £350,000 ($561,730)
Marc BrandenburgUntitled (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).

Matthew Marks

“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.

Dominique Lévy

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)

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. Zwirner:  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.

Letter from London | Judd Tully

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 EnterpriseAll six of  Ella Kruglyanskaya portraits of women sold for about $50,000 each

In a later report, Romano added:

Skarsdtedt: sold a Barbara Kruger silkscreen from 1988 that had an asking price of $550,000.

“We had a very good turnout,” said Bona Colonna Montagu of Skarstedt, which has galleries in New York and London. “All the major collectors are here. Quite a few things have sold.”

Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, an art adviser and founder of the New York gallery Salon 94, declined to say whether her clients Beyonce and Jay-Z made any purchases. Her gallery’s booth sold 15 brightly-colored sculptures by Japanese artist Takuro Kuwata for as much as $30,000.

Hirst’s Formaldehyde Fish Top Sales at Frieze in London  (Bloomberg)

Hirst Tops Sales as Buyers Pick $2.2 Billion Frieze Art  (Bloomberg)

Hauser & Wirth at Frieze


Hauser & Wirth 

  • Allan Kaprow, Caged Pheasant #2  1956 USD 500,000
  • Eva HesseNo title  1960   USD 450,000
  • Chiyu UemaeUntitled  1962  USD 160,000
  • Pipilotti RistGeburtsort ist Zufall (Birthplace Is Random)  1994  USD 150,000
  • Paul McCarthyPlaster Your Head and One Arm into a Wall  1973 / 2009 USD 85,000
  • Allan KaprowSeated Nude, Head on Hand   1953   USD 40,000
  • Rashid JohnsonThe New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Kiss)  2011   USD 18,000


Emin at Lehmann Maupin

Lehmann Maupin

  • 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

Christoph Buechel's Sleeping Security Guard 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 David Smith Frieze 2014 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.”
Marion Maneker0October 17, 2014

Sotheby’s Frieze Evening Sales = £69.6m

Marion Maneker0October 17, 2014

An Auction Environment Where Success Feels Like Caution

Christie's PWC London 1014

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.

Doig, Richter Works Lead Christie’s $65 Million Auction   (Bloomberg)

Peter Doig Sells for $7.3 Million at Christie’s Evening Sale (artnet News)


Christie's Italian 1014