Marion Maneker0April 17, 2014

Sotheby’s Fires Back on Board Fight with New Presentation

email newsletter

Market reports in your inbox.

Marion Maneker0April 17, 2014

Texas Just Can’t Quit Farrah Fawcett Portrait—Even After Trial Loss

Warhol Fawcett Detail

The University of Texas is appealing a jury’s verdict that Ryan O’Neal is the owner of one of the Farah Fawcett portraits Andy Warhol created. The odd part of the story isn’t the university’s tenacity over the portrait but the appraisal they’re working with. $12m is far more than any celebrity portrait by Warhol has ever achieved.

The university had spent $1.15 million in legal fees and expenses as of the end of March to recoup the painting, according to data the university provided to McClatchy under the Texas open records law. The fees and expenses have been paid to the Houston law firm of Beck Redden LLP since the case was filed in 2011. O’Neal’s lawyers and the university’s lawyers are still slugging out the last remaining issues that surround splitting the costs of the trial, with a hearing set for May 2.

The painting, according to lead attorney David Beck, is appraised at $12 million.

The university has a $1.3 million limit authorized by the University of Texas Board of Regents to secure the painting.

University of Texas goes another round to get Farrah Fawcett portrait  (

Economic Trends
Marion Maneker0April 17, 2014

Want to Profit from Increasing Global Inequality? Buy Sotheby’s Stock Says Motley Fool


The Motley Fool stumps for Sotheby’s stock as a play on emerging markets wealth accumulation. Although the analysts also want to make the case for BID as a play on increasingly global inequality they make one crucial error in assuming that the art market cannot produce new works. The art market’s power lies in its ability to take objects that were previously undervalued or unvalued and actively making a market in those objects thus increasing their value:

As the above chart shows, Sotheby’s stock outperformed its peer group and S&P global luxury index since financial markets have recovered in recent years. […] Sotheby’s is unique in the fact that it benefits directly from wealth disparity. A report released by Oxfam in January 2014 discussed rising wealth disparity. Here are a few key points:

Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just 1% of the population. Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.

The richest 1% increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.

The upper class has also been growing by household worldwide. According to a study performed by Boston Consulting Group in 2011, millionaire households have increased in both number and wealth. Millionaire households owned 39% of global wealth, up from 37% in 2009. The number of millionaire households increased by 12.2% in 2010 alone.

The wealth disparity and increase in millionaire households is important because Sotheby’s revenue is highly segmented within the top 1%. This benefits Sotheby’s more than other luxury-good sellers due to the limited supply of fine art. Most luxury goods, like Lamborghinis or diamonds, can be manufactured or mined. Unless scientist find a way to bring people back from the dead, a Picasso can no longer be painted.

How to Profit from Increasing Wealth Disparity and Emerging Markets (Motley Fool)

Collectors, Dealers
Marion Maneker0April 17, 2014

Daniel Loeb’s Jeffrey Deitch Problem


The New York Post is trying to stir the pot in the Sotheby’s board fight by suggesting Daniel Loeb’s role as a trustee at LA MoCA is a liability to his case.

Loeb’s critics argue the MOCA gig isn’t something to brag about. In his three-plus years on the board, the museum experienced a sharp drop-off in fundraising and had to cut its budget. […]

“[Sotheby’s] shareholders ought to take a careful look at the turmoil that occurred while Loeb was on the board,” said one person familiar with the situation. […]

Loeb, who has donated millions of dollars to MOCA, is still a trustee.

“It’s true that Jeffrey is his friend, but his commitment has always been to the institution and to work collaboratively with other board members and the Los Angeles art community,” said a source close to Loeb. “He supports the new director.”

Loeb’s museum board history not a strong case for Sotheby’s  (New York Post)

Marion Maneker0April 17, 2014

Antonio Banderas & Gwyneth Paltrow to Play Picasso & Dora Maar in New Movie

Picasso Dora Maar by Man Ray

After the spectacular flop of Monuments Men, it seems hard to believe that this Hollywood vanity project will ever really see the screen. The first attempt at making the movie ended with the production company in bankruptcy. Now Antonio Banderas claims he has a greenlight to make a movie about the painting of Guernica:

Spanish actor Antonio Banderas said Tuesday “the time has come” in his life to play fellow Malaga native Pablo Picasso.

He said he planned to take on the role in Spanish director Carlos Saura’s “33 dias,” a film about the creation of the painting “Guernica.”

“I turned down the chance at one point of playing Mr. Pablo, but the time has come in my life where I understand him better, and I am nearly at the age he was when those events happened, in 1937, when he was 55 or 56, and I’m getting close,” Banderas, who turns 54 this summer, said. […]

Gwyneth Paltrow, who is “absolutely in love with Spain and speaks Spanish and French perfectly,” has also agreed to be in the film, Banderas said.

Antonio Banderas Says ‘The Time Has Come’ To Play Painter Pablo Picasso (Fox News Latino)

Marion Maneker0April 17, 2014

Marianne Rosenberg Signs Lease for NY Gallery

Marianne Rosenberg

A New York local news site says Paul Rosenberg’s granddaughter is opening an art gallery on the Upper East Side:

Marianne Rosenberg, a New York City-based lawyer, recently signed the lease on a 1,500-square-foot ground floor of a townhouse located at 19 E. 66th St., said Jill Lovatt, the leasing agent who represented the space. The townhouse, which is located between Fifth and Madison avenues, was formerly home to David Tunick, Inc., a gallery that specializes in fine drawings from the 15th to mid-20th centuries.

Heir of Prominent Art Dealer Who Had Works Looted by Nazis to Open Gallery  ( New York)

Marion Maneker0April 16, 2014

Yonkers Makes Bid to Become SoHo on the Hudson


We’ve been following the news items about Yonkers. But the New York Times explains that the city is pursuing a strategy to attract young people through art:

With metal bars on the outside windows and rooms inside with heavy double doors, Mr. Wolf said the jail would be “a fortress” for the contemporary paintings, 19th- and 20th-century photography, prehistoric American art and ancient Chinese ceramics that he has amassed over four decades, most of which now sits in boxes in storage. He plans to keep one of the jail cells intact “just for fun.”

Otherwise, the building will get a major makeover, with renovations expected to cost more than the $1 million he paid for it in December.

Mr. Wolf, who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, envisions a Jean Lurcat tapestry in the stairwell and a chandelier in the entryway. Eventually, he plans to add two more floors for art studios designed by Ms. Lin, whose work includes the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.

In Yonkers, a Shuttered Jail Becomes Part of a Budding Art Scene

Marion Maneker0April 16, 2014

Greed and the Greek: Are These Lost Van Goghs?

Greek van Gogh

This woman claims all she wants is to have the Nazi-looted art her father liberated from a train when he was a Greek resistance fighter. But somehow her greed is getting in the way:

The Van Gogh Museum wrote to Doreta in December of 2006, and requested to see the ‘man with a pipe’ painting. She says that they made her an outrageous offer: “They said they would authenticate it, but the contract they sent me stated they had the right to keep it forever, for free.”

Doreta reveals she has now spent $150,000 trying to authenticate the paintings; including X-rays and various lab tests. “I am very poor. I have spent every penny I have on the authentication. The art world has even disputed lab tests I’ve had done on the paint. I spent so much money on the painting that I lost my home. We had to sell up. I don’t even want to sell the painting, all I want is for them to admit it’s real.”

Van Gogh Mystery: $100m Nazi Art Collection Leaves Woman Broke

Marion Maneker0April 15, 2014

Bonhams to Sell Portanova Sappho by Fragonard in July

Fragonard Sappho inspired by Cupid

Having sold a Fragonard portrait for £17.1m last year, Bonhams is going back to the master with another work slated for its London sale:

Sappho inspired by Cupid, a sensual work by the French 17th century Master, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, is to be sold at Bonhams Old Master Paintings Sale in London on 9 July.  It is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000.

The painting is known informally as the Portanova Sappho to recognise its previous ownership by the socialite couple Sandra and Ricky di Portanova but also to distinguish it from Fragonard’s other works on the same theme.  It was executed around 1780, when the painter moved away from the Rococo style with which he had established his early reputation and started to experiment with Neoclassicism.  Sappho inspired by Cupid clearly struck a chord with art collectors because Fragonard repeated the composition many times and painted other allegorical works with a romantic theme – The Invocation to Love, The Fountain of Love and The Sacrifice of the Rose, for example, – again, in several versions.  Of the known versions of Sappho inspired by Cupid, the painting in the Bonhams sale is regarded as the highest in quality.

The poet Sappho, born around 600 BCE, lived on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. She was famed throughout antiquity for her uninhibited approach to love as well as for the quality of her poetry, of which only fragments have survived.  Her work celebrated beauty through love and Fragonard’s painting depicts the figure of Cupid in his traditional guise of a chubby young boy embracing and inspiring the classically perfect, but recognisably human, figure of the poetess. The modern identification of Sappho as a writer of specifically lesbian poetry would almost certainly have been unfamiliar to Fragonard – the terms lesbian and Sapphic were not coined until the last third of the 19th century- and there is no suggestion of this in the image.

Marion Maneker0April 15, 2014

The Market Doesn’t Like Loeb’s Plan for Sotheby’s

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 9.58.51 PM

Third Point’s pitch for Sotheby’s doesn’t seem to be inspiring anyone else to buy the stock. Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund released its case for improving the auction house’s financial performance and charting a growth strategy last night. At this morning’s open, Sotheby’s stock struggled and then broke below the historically significant $40 price floor falling more than 3% before recovering slightly and closing down 2+%.