Marion Maneker0August 21, 2014

Would You Leave a $1m Picasso in a Rental with These Guys?

Todd Rose, Timothy Marsh and Charles Douglas Jr.Unfortunately, that’s what one woman claims she did. According to Prescott, Arizona’s newspaper, a $1m Picasso painting was missing from a rental home after the tenants were evicted:

Todd Rose, 53, had been evicted by court order from the residence on Eagle Crest Drive, but was still living there when police were called. A woman who met police showed them court documents indicating that Rose was supposed to have vacated the premises the day before.  […] Four officers found a way into the house and began searching it.

“We ran into many doors that were secured by screws that attached the door to the door frame so no one could enter from the outside,” the report said. […]

The property owners’ representative arrived and told police that several items were missing, including the painting, a large antique tribal mask, a $5,000 rug and two televisions.

When Timothy Marsh, 50, came back with the truck, officers searched it for stolen goods and found one of the missing televisions as well as a glass pipe with methamphetamine residue, the report said. Marsh denied knowing about or using the pipe.

Two officers went to the storage unit and located Rose. He told the property manager that the Picasso was in another storage facility “so it was safe and would not get stolen,” the report said.

Woman claims evicted renter took $1M Picasso painting  (The Prescott Daily Courier)

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Fraud, Theft & Restitution
Marion Maneker0August 21, 2014

How eBay Views Art Fraud, A Response

Josh Baer

In response to the post on eBay’s view of fraud on its site, we received a note from Josh Baer, the art advisor and editor of The Baer Faxt, who has been consulting with eBay on its new art marketplace:

There are more eyes on eBay’s art site than The Daily Beast article implies. Much of what The Daily Beast covered is ancient news. I know because I lead a small team to vet works on the site and remove ones that are clearly fake.

Since I began advising eBay, almost a year ago, we have approached this market with the firm belief that it is our responsibility to protect buyers from fraud. No buyer–or potential buyer–who is willing to pay $25,000 for something that they believe is worth $25,000 should have to worry that the work is a fraud.

My team, and eBay, is diligently trying to protect our buyers–and potential buyers–from criminal sellers, fraud, or, even, a simple mistake. And no one at eBay blames the victim for being taken in an art fraud.

Marion Maneker0August 20, 2014

The Prodigy’s Progress: Checking In on Kieron Williamson

Kieron Wiliamson, Ducks CrossingThe Guardian’s Patrick Barkham pays another visit to the Williamson family, Michelle and Keith, who are now all fully behind their son Kieron’s painting career:

Kieron is wearing shorts and a T-shirt saying “Goooal!” and is a week away from his 12th birthday. He is a perfectly ordinary boy – he loves being outdoors, playing football and riding his bike fast – and yet his talent for painting has made his family’s life rather extraordinary. The boy the tabloids call Mini Monet has just sold out his latest exhibition of 40 paintings, raising more than £400,000, and he is already a millionaire. A mailing list of 10,000 people crave a Williamson and buyers from New Zealand, Indonesia and Germany have visited his exhibition. The family car has a personalised numberplate, KW02 ART, and Kieron wants to tour Italy and buy a herd of cattle. “You’re a genius!” exclaims one visitor to the Picturecraft Galley in the small town of Holt, Norfolk, where Kieron holds all his exhibitions. Kieron’s extremely polite manner suggests he has heard it all before.

His paintings have probably changed more than he has. The pastels he once drew have been supplanted by mature, moody oils of figures in the landscape, influenced by Alfred Munnings and the Newlyn School, and Kieron uses a palette knife and smart techniques such as scoring winter branches with a cocktail stick on his oils. […]

Michelle is the director of Kieron’s company, which was set up in 2010, helped by a specialist children’s solicitor and accountant who ensure that his fortune is held in trust for when he comes of age. Keith, formerly an art dealer, now buys and sells art for Kieron’s company, and Kieron has an impressive collection, including more than 20 paintings by his hero, Edward Seago. Do they argue over what to buy? They glance at each other and smile. “Dad likes a wider range than me,” says Kieron diplomatically.

To have both parents employed by their newly 12-year-old son sounds challenging. “We worry constantly about people’s opinions and judgments,” admits Michelle. “A lot of people have a problem with the fact that Kieron pays us a wage.” But the alternative, they point out, is to employ someone else, who would probably demand a bigger salary.

Portrait of the artist as a young man (The Guardian)

Art Fairs
Marion Maneker0August 20, 2014

Revving Up for ArtRio 2014

ArtRio 2013

ArtRio opens September 11th with 99 galleries from 15 countries, including Brazil. Johnannes Vogt, David ZwirnerVictoria MiroWhite Cube, Bischoff Projects, A Gentil Carioca, Galeria da Gávea, Mendes Wood DM and Arte 57 will all be there. Plus, the fair will host these events:

-  SOLO, curated for the fourth year by Julieta Gonzalez and Pablo León de la Barra, will explore the materiality of concrete with contemporary and historical works; and LUPA, curated for the second year by Abaseh Mirvali, will assemble monumental or large-scale works.

- The Premio Foco Bradesco booth, including a selection of young Brazilian artists.

-  Vista, a program for young galleries from around the world.

-  ArtRio Talks; this year’s theme is “collecting”.

-  This year, the galleries were very well selected to make a fair with high quality works by a mix of Brazilian and international artists.

How ArtRio Is Helping Turn Brazil Into A Major Art-World Player (Forbes)

Marion Maneker0August 19, 2014

Bidsquare Goes Live to Service Regional Auction Houses



Daniel Grant explains on ArtNews that growing frustration with LiveAuctioneers and its unwillingness to police defaulting bidders has caused a group of regional auction houses led by Leslie Hindman to create their own portal, Bidsquare, which is now live:

Hindman […] and five other regional auction houses—Rago in Lambertville, New Jersey; Brunk in Asheville, North Carolina; Cowan’s in Cincinnati, Ohio; Pook & Pook in Downingtown, Pennsylvania; and Skinner in Marlborough, Massachusetts—have joined forces to start their own online bidding platform, BidSquare. Launching on August 18, BidSquare aims to solve these problems, as the fees that participating auction houses pay BidSquare will be lower than those charged by LiveAuctioneers ($1,000 per auction or, for smaller auction houses, $650 plus one-and-a-half percent of the sale); auctioneers are to be provided more information on underbidders, and “the auctioneers will be able to communicate what we know about people registering for sales, such as those who haven’t paid in the past,” Hindman said.

The site includes a searchable database for prospective buyers, and will allow auctioneers to advertise their sales.

“The six auction houses put our heads together to think about what auction houses want and what bidders want,” Hindman said.

Six Regional Auctioneers Launch Online-Auction Site, Challenging LiveAuctioneer and Non-Paying Bidders (ARTnews)

Fraud, Theft & Restitution, General
Marion Maneker0August 19, 2014

eBay’s Art Fraud Problem Is a Two Way Street


The Daily Beast has a nice story on the problem with fakes on eBay. Though the company’s fraud consultant acknowledges there isn’t enough  due diligence on the site and that, ” sense of urgency in these online auctions plays right into the hand of these people who create fraud on the Internet.”

Finally, Colette Loll, the consultant, says “We need more eyes on the site, but we also need to address the consumer demand for artwork that looks real but is priced significantly below market value.”

“Art fraud is a confidence crime that takes two willing participants,” says Colette Loll, an expert in art fraud who consults with eBay and has trained federal agents in forgery investigations. “People still believe that there are all these treasures out there and that they’re going to be the ones to discover them,” says Loll. “There’s still this Antiques’ Roadshow mentality infiltrating the online art marketplace.”

Buyers are purchasing works as one would a scratch ticket, with the idea that they’re going to get lucky. A recent academic study estimated that up to 91 percent of supposed Henry Moore drawings and sculptures sold on eBay were fake. And often, it’s the more sophisticated buyer— the art collector—who thinks they’ve won the lottery when they discover an undervalued art work on the Internet.

But when people smell a good bargain, they abandon their sense of judgment. “All good dealers and collectors look into provenance,” says Loll. “But people still believe there was that one work that showed up in grandma’s attic that exists without this chain of ownership.”

Why eBay Is an Art Forger’s Paradise  (The Daily Beast)

Art Fairs
Marion Maneker0August 18, 2014

Ed Winkleman on the Explosion of Art Fairs and Its Effect on Artists and Collectors

Winkleman on Art Fairs

Ed Winkleman has a good presentation on art fairs that he delivered at Sotheby’s Institute in May of 2014. The video is worth spending 15 minutes viewing or download the transcript below:

Art Fairs are having both a financial and a personal impact on the dealers. it’s shifting the culture from this genteel practice where you would wait for someone to come into your gallery or you would have this leisurely conversation with them, to one where you’re constantly on the road and everything is happening much more quickly.

The impact on artists is probably ten times worse in my opinion. At the fairs, the top metric of the success for any given artwork is whether it’s sold or not. And that starts to influence what artists give their galleries to take to the fairs. They want to be a success. They want the piece at the fair to sell.


Collectors, Dealers
Marion Maneker0August 18, 2014

Perelman Opens New Front in War with Gagosian, Wants Access to Gagosian-Mugrabi Transactions


Twombly, Leaving Paphos Ringed with Waves

Twombly, Leaving Paphos Ringed with Waves

Ron Perelman’s not done with Larry Gagosian. He’s launched a new line of inquiry with the dealer over a Twombly he tried to buy in 2011 that Gagosian said was for sale for $8m, then claimed had been taken off the market by a buyer only to become available again a few months later for nearly 50% more. Perelman says Gagosian was using Jose Mugrabi as a buyer of convenience. Now he’s suing to see all of the dealings between Gagosian and Mugrabi over the last four and a half years, according to the New York Post:

Perelman wants to see how other deals with the Mugrabis went down — and whether the Twombly sale was “manufactured to enable [Gagosian] to extract an unwarranted premium for the painting,” he says in court papers.

His subpoena demands that Gagosian and the Mugrabis hand over information about all of their transactions from January 2010 to today.

But they’ve balked at the inquiry, insisting it has nothing to do with the Twombly painting at the heart of the lawsuit. They claim the subpoena is an attempt to “harass” them.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla, who is overseeing the case, has acknowledged that Gagosian “has enormous power to influence, and even set, the markets for the artists he represents because of his . . . access to the largest private collections in the world.”

Perelman wants the judge to order the Mugrabis to uphold the subpoenas.

Perelman subpoenas gallerist as lawsuit rages on  (New York Post)

Marion Maneker0August 18, 2014

India’s Top Art Collectors, A Handy Guide

Sangita Jindal

Sangita Jindal

Kishore Singh is one of the most valuable resources on Indian art.  On Forbes India he extends his role as indispensable guide to cover the collectors. Here is a broad tour of India’s top collectors and some of the many record prices they’ve set. You’ll see Ambanis and Mittals but also other, lesser-known names, including Sangita Jindal (above) and Malvinder Singh (below.) But for sheer longevity and willingness to set the price curve, we have to quote from the entry for Kiran Nadar:

With some of the most talked-about works of modern and contemporary art in their collection, which grew so large that some of it had to be put into storage, the Nadars commissioned the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) in January 2010. While they’re still scouting for a permanent address for the museum, Kiran has become one of the key figures of the Indian art world as much for her clout as for the purported size of her purse, which she wields on the museum’s behalf.

First blood: “I commissioned MF Husain, and bought works by Manjit Bawa and Rameshwar Broota; all three works are still in the house.”

Most exciting acquisition: KNMA’s bids for SH Raza’s seminal work Saurashtra (at Rs 16.5 crore, the most expensive painting by an Indian) and Bharti Kher’s The Skin Speaks a Language of its Own (a record for the artist at Rs 6.5 crore) at auctions drew global attention; but “I have to say Line of Control by Subodh Gupta has been my most exciting, recent acquisition.” The installation, with the artist’s leitmotif utensils in the form of a nuclear explosion, was first exhibited at London’s Tate Modern, and adorns the entrance of KNMA.

The museum: “People need to be exposed to art; I had a collection that was worth sharing, so planning a museum was logical.”

Changing perspective: Kiran no longer collects art intuitively but to fill in the gaps in her collection. “I don’t think from a personal point of view anymore, but from that of KNMA.”

Shiv Nadar’s role: “He’s not involved in the art aspect, but he’s supportive—very supportive—especially financially, without which this wouldn’t fly.”

India’s Rich are Tasteful Art Collectors Too (Forbes India)

Malvinder Singh

Marion Maneker0August 18, 2014

Ferrari is the Picasso of the Classic Car World as Prices Triple in 3yrs; Pebble Beach Auctions = $352.4m for 702 Cars

Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta 38m Bonhams 2014

The week-long round of Pebble Beach classic car auctions ended late last week and Bloomberg has the tally at a record $352.4m for 702 sold lots against 1192 cars offered across three auction houses. The stars of the sale cycle were almost exclusively Ferraris.

“The Ferrari market has changed drastically in the past three years,” said Marcel Massini, a Swiss-based Ferrari historian who attended the events. “Prices for these models easily tripled since then.”

Bloomberg’s Katya Kazakina spoke to McKeel Hagerty, who runs the classic car insurer and database:

“The market is the highest it’s ever been,” said McKeel Hagerty, chief executive officer of Hagerty, a Traverse City, Michigan-based insurer and classic car database. “There are new buyers from, Asia, Latin America, some from the Middle East.” […]

“It’s a highly romanticized car,” Hagerty said about the Ferrari 250 GTO model from 1962-63. “Only 39 of them were built. Every single one of them was known from the day it was built. It was the last of what you refer to as a dual purpose car: You can drive it on the street and race it.”

RM Auctions, based in Blenheim, Ontario, offered 32 Ferraris among the 129 cars this year. The sale was led by a 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale, only one of three ever made, that fetched $26.4 million.

A 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 owned by the late actor Steve McQueen, estimated at $8 million to $12 million, sold for $10.2 million at RM Auctions.

A red 1964 Ferrari 250 LM estimated at $8.5 million to $12.5 million sold for $11.5 million.

Gooding, based in Santa Monica, California, had 121 cars for sale during two evening auctions. The first, on Aug. 16, tallied $60.4 million, with 17 cars selling for more than $1 million.

The priciest of the 64 offered lots was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider that fetched $15.2 million, against the estimate of $13 million to $15 million.

“If this was the art world, these would be the Picassos, the great masterpieces,” said Hagerty.

Red Ferrari Leads Way in $350 Million Classic Car Sales  (Bloomberg)