WSJ Predicts Stampede for Cuban Art


Kelly Crow explains that although Americans are able to buy Cuban art without restrictions, the easing of travel bans will unleash new competition for Cuban artists:

Right now, works by Cuban artists aren’t necessarily less expensive in Havana than in New York or London. But collectors who visit the island can meet and form relationships with artists there that may result in small discounts or first dibs on new pieces—before the artists’ works reach galleries in Europe or New York. This type of access is particularly valuable for Americans competing with European and Latin American collectors who have been traveling to Cuba for years. Cuban dealers say Americans currently make up more than a third of their buyers. […]

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The Art World Takes the Fame Out of the Famous

Matthew Weinstein

Jerry Saltz has an interesting interview with Matthew Weinstein on NYMag’s Seen blog where the two discuss the immense attraction of art to celebrities:

The art world is the new cultural succubus. The phenomenon in which a celebrity’s fame becomes increasingly hobbled as s­he is drawn closer to the art world establishes the fact that there is no longer any pop culture. It is all art culture. This idea destabilizes the accepted and tired idea that Pop Art served to dissolve the art/life invisible divide. Actually, Pop Art annexed popular culture for art; thus increasing the territory for art and depriving popular culture of being perceived as anything but entertainment or decoration. The fact that huge celebrities are drawn to art-world attention proves the victory of art culture over popular culture. Celebrities cannot grasp onto art content without first offering themselves up as sacrifices to the art world. Pop Art possessed the seeds of the more conservative notions of culture and class that have grown into the world domination of “high culture” by claiming popular culture for art.

Gaga’s Law: How Art Conquered Pop  (Vulture)

A Look at the Top Lots from Lofty’s 2014

Pieter Hugo, Mallam Galadima Ahamadu with Jamis, Nigeria,
Pieter Hugo, Mallam Galadima Ahamadu with Jamis, Nigeria,
The folks at Lofty got in touch to share their top public sales (they also arrange private sales too.)
  1. Pal Szinyei MerseLandscape, oil on canvas laid on board, signed, in giltwood frame: $35,000
  2. Vladamir Makovsky, Four Laundresses, oil on panel, signed and dated 1899: $30,000
  3. Diego Giacometti, L’Autruche (Ostrich), a patinated bronze and ostrich egg sculpture, 1977: $25,000
  4. Alan Saret Sculpture, Infinity Cluster, metal wire sculpture, circa 1980: $24,000
  5. Edward CucuelWoman in a Blue Dress, first half of 20th century: $23,000
  6. John George Brown, My Buddy, oil on canvas, signed, early 20th century: $23,000
  7. Pieter HugoMallam Galadima Ahamadu with Jamis, Nigeria, digital C-Print, signed and dated 2005: $22,000
  8. Chuck Close, Chloroplast, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1966: $22,000
  9. George Jones Compote, Majolica Figural Compote English, 19th century, America from the Continental Series: $12,500
  10. Richard MacDonald, The Flair, bronze sculpture, signed in the cast: $12,000
Chuck Close, Chloroplast
Chuck Close, Chloroplast

Heritage Sells $485k Henri Martin Landscape

HENRI JEAN GUILLAUME MARTIN (French, 1860-1943). La vallée du vert à Labastide-du-Vert, circa 1920

Last week in Dallas, Heritage sold $1.2m in European art, the bulk of which was a Henri Martin landscape that made $485k:

Henri Martin’s majestic landscape, La vallée du vert à Labastide-du-Vert, circa 1920, sold for $485,000; Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky’s romantic marine painting, French Ships Departing the Black Sea, 1871, sold for $125,000; Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, L’Anglaise, circa 1968, sold for $81,250 – more than double its pre-auction estimate – following interest from eight bidders.

Several Edouard-Léon Cortès Parisian Streetscapes: Rue de Lyon, Bastille sold for $50,000; Place Saint-Michel, $25,000; Place de la Republique, $22,500; and Avenue de l’Opéra sous la pluie, circa 1950-55, $17,500.

Sotheby’s NY Old Masters, $34m Safra Collection

9302 Canaletto
January brings the Old Master sales back to New York. Sotheby’s is already chomping to get its collectors running:

Sotheby’s January 2015 Old Master Week in New York will feature a select group of highly important paintings assembled by noted collector J.E. Safra.

The choice offering of 17 paintings presents a wide range of styles and genres of the period including the Dutch Golden Age, as well as 18th century Italian and French.  The vast majority of the works have been off the market for at least 20 years and together the group is estimated to bring $22/34 million.  The paintings will go on public exhibition, alongside Sotheby’s Old Master Week sales, beginning 24 January.

Highlights include an exquisite example from Canaletto’s English period London, A View of the Old Horse Guards and Banqueting Hall, Whitehall seen from St. James’ Park (est. $4/6 million). The picture is a rare record of the Old Horse Guards (seen from across St James’s Park) which was demolished just months after Canaletto painted it (the prospect of its imminent demolition is what prompted Canalleto to paint and record it for posterity.) The building was then replaced with the large Palladian style grade I listed building that we know today. The work was painting during Canaletto’s English period: in May of 1746, Canaletto transferred his studio to London in pursuit of fresh challenges following two decades of prolific Venetian vedute painting. It previously belonged to Sir Edward Wilmot, surgeon to both Kings George II and, not least, George III. Great London views by Canaletto are rare on the market, and the auction record for one of them set more than 20 years ago, in 1992.

Sotheby’s Old Master Safra Sale Press Release

Courtauld’s Cézanne to Star at Christie’s

aul Cézanne, Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If (8-12m GBP)

Samuel Courtauld held a little something back from the institute and now Christie’s is going to sell it in London this February:

Christie’s is proud to announce the sale of a masterpiece by Paul Cézanne, Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If, which comes to the market for the first time since it was acquired in 1936 by Samuel Courtauld, the founder of the illustrious Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art in London (estimate: £8-12 million). The painting remained in Courtauld’s private collection throughout his lifetime and following his generous bequest to the Courtauld Gallery. One of the leading highlights of the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 4 February 2015, this magisterial work was painted circa 1883-1885, during one of the last visits that Cézanne ever made to L’Estaque, a fishing port and small seaside resort in his native Provence, where he sought inspiration repeatedly from the mid-1860s. This is a rare example on a vertical canvas of Cézanne’s treatment of this iconic motif; the format lends the composition stately dignity and remarkable concentration of colour and form.

Flippers Don’t Just Sell Emerging Artists

Richard Estes, Double Self Portrait

NPR’s story on the Smithsonian’s Richard Estes retrospective reminds us that not all artists who are flipped on the market are newcomers. A quick search of Artnet shows that Estes has had eight works auctioned within five years of their creation, most for prices in the mid-six figures which puts this comment to NPR in a slightly different light:Continue Reading